Select Committee on European Union Forty-Ninth Report


Letter from the Chairman to Rt Hon Baroness Scotland of Asthal QC, Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department

  This proposal was examined by Sub-Committee E (Law and Institutions) at its meeting on 3 July.

  In your Explanatory Memorandum you have helpfully drawn attention to two possible difficulties. The first concerns the relationship of UK procedures with the proposed methods of service, set out in Article 11 of the draft Regulation. You say that the Government is considering the extent to which any difficulty might be overcome by reliance on Article 19, which permits the standard to be "corrected" by serving the judgment to the required standard. How do you propose to ensure that that approach will be accepted in other jurisdictions? It would clearly be undesirable if a creditor having obtained a European Enforcement Order here faced unnecessary difficulties in enforcing it in another Member State. Presumably this is one of the factors the Government will be taking into account when weighing the balance of advantage in the UK exercising its right to opt in to the proposal.

  In paragraph 20 of your Explanatory Memorandum you raise a further, possibly more substantial, issue, namely whether a public policy exception ("ordre public") be included in the Regulation as a safeguard against requiring automatic recognition in one Member State of decisions which are considered incompatible with fundamental legal principles in another Member State. It would be helpful if you could identify the sort of problems you envisage there might be were such an exception not expressly included in the Regulation.

  The Regulation defines "uncontested", principally in terms of failure to respond when, served with the proceedings, failure to object in the course of the proceedings and settlement in the course of the court proceedings. As regards safeguards for the debtor, the Regulation sets down certain minimum standards regarding the methods of service of documents, the time allowed for preparation of defence and the provision of information to the debtor. The Committee notes that the proposal asserts that it is compatible with the ECHR. The text, however, raises a number of questions. First, is the Minister satisfied that 14 and 28 days periods (Article 15) are not too short? Second, should minimum rules be inserted to avoid undue delay in presenting an Order for enforcement? Third, how far is your assessment of ECHR compatibility dependent on the inclusion of a public policy exception, as the UK is proposing?

  Finally, the Committee notes that the Government is seeking the views of interested stakeholders in this proposal. The Committee believes that it is essential that there should be the fullest consultation in all the UK jurisdictions. Could you please confirm that you have consulted the Head of Civil Justice, the Lord President, the Bar Council, the Faculty of Advocates, the Law Society of England and Wales and the Law Society of Scotland? We would also be grateful if you could supply a summary of the results of the consultation exercise. We would also wish to be informed when the Government has taken its decision on whether to opt in to the proposed Regulation.

  The Committee decided to retain the document under scrutiny, we look forward to receiving the information and further explanations requested above.

4 July 2002

Letter from the Rt Hon Baroness Scotland of Asthal QC, Parliamentary Secretary, to the Chairman

  Thank your for your letter of 4 July 2002. Your Committee raised several points, which I answer below.

  How would the Government ensure that other jurisdictions accept UK proposals for using the provisions of Article 19 to "cure" methods of service that do not comply with the minimum standards?

  2.  The Government's efforts will first be directed towards persuading other Member States to adopt postal service (in Scotland, recorded delivery service) as satisfying the minimum standards of service.

  3.  If postal and recorded service are not adopted in the Regulation as compliant modes of service, the Government considers that article 19 as presently drafted provides a basis for "curing" postal service by re-service in a compliant method. UK courts of origin could then grant EEO certificates for enforcement abroad as a European Enforcement Order. It is an integral element of the scheme that other jurisdictions cannot challenge the EEO certificate. Similarly, if procedures within another Member State also allow for cure by way of re-service, no challenges to those certificates could be heard in UK courts when acting as the courts of enforcement. If Article 19 is amended in a way which eliminates the possibility of curing by re-service, the Government would consider what other changes to the rules on use of personal service might be appropriate for the type of case most likely to benefit from the proposed Regulation. These are uncontested claims where both parties are within the jurisdiction but the defendant's assets are known or likely to be held abroad, or the defendant moves abroad after judgment. Rules of Court already ensure the availability of personal service for process coming from other EC Member States for service in the UK under the Service Regulation No 1348/2000. If the defendant is domiciled in another Member State, that State will have been responsible for the service of documents in accordance with the Service Regulation.

  4.  On 22 July 2002, the Government communicated to the President of the Council its intention to participate in the adoption of the proposed Regulation. Discussions on the proposal in the Civil Law Committee are still at an early stage. The Commission has indicated that a study of methods of service in EC Member States has recently been initiated. This may assist in identifying whether postal service is relied upon by other Member States for service of process.

  Please identify the sort of problems there might be if a public policy exception were not expressly included in the Regulation. How far is your assessment of ECHR compatibility dependent on the inclusion of a public policy exception?

  5.  In theory, the same range of problematic circumstances may arise which could arise in relation to the enforcement of any judgment that is enforceable under the Brussels Regulation No 44/2001. Article 34(1) of the Brussels Regulation contains the ordre public exception and derives from article 27(1) of the Brussels Convention on which case law has developed. What is more likely, however, is that the problems would be those inherent in uncontested proceedings, namely proof of sufficient opportunity to participate in the case so as to satisfy the right to a fair hearing requirements of article 6(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights. Granted that the primary aim of the proposed Regulation is to address that concern specifically, it could be argued that this risk will be eliminated and that the public policy exception can safely be omitted, or addressed in some other manner.

  6.  There are two relevant cases on the use of article 27(1) of the Brussels Convention.

  7.  In Krombach v Bamberski [2001] A11 ER (EC) 584, the European Court of Justice upheld the decision of a German court refusing, on grounds of public policy, recognition and enforcement of a French default judgment. The German defendant had been prevented from being heard by counsel on a civil claim for damages (known as "adhesion" proceedings) linked to criminal proceedings relating to the death of the victim. French procedural rules required that such a defendant must attend in person in order that his lawyer may be heard on his behalf. In Maronier v Larmer (Times, 13.6.02, unreported) the defendant was not notified of the reactivation of a case that had been stayed 12 years earlier. He was unable under Dutch rules of procedure to appeal from the judgment entered on that later occasion despite having no knowledge of it. The Court of Appeal upheld the refusal of the English Court to enforce the judgment.

  8.  The Government remains open to persuasion that problems of this nature might satisfactorily be addressed in other ways. In deliberation on the proposed Regulation, suggestions have been raised by the German delegation that the Krombach situation might best be addressed by removing from the scope of uncontested claims, default judgments given in adhesion proceedings of the sort which occurred in that case. Also, it would appear that in Dutch procedural law, cases such as the Maronier case would fall outside the scope of the Regulation. In Dutch law, it seems, once a case is contested, it will remain regarded in that light. It would therefore not fall to be regarded as an uncontested matter.

  9.  The Brussels Regulation limits the circumstances in which public policy objections may be used. Public policy cannot be used to challenge the substance of a judgment, as distinct from its enforceability. It is only where the defendant appeals against a declaration of enforceability on grounds of public policy that the court can rule on the point; courts cannot take public policy points of their own motion. As with all Community law exceptions, the public policy exception falls to be narrowly construed, and is not a panacea for all known exceptional circumstances. Furthermore, it would appear that it is not necessary to resort to public policy arguments to safeguard against the danger of being obliged to enforce a judgment that has been obtained by fraud.

  10.  On balance, the Government prefers the limited and specific approach to the public policy exception contained in Article 34(1) of the Brussels Regulation, and would like to see it reflected in some way in the proposed Regulation. During negotiations, some other delegations have made similar points.

  11.  It is not, however, the Government's position that the absence of an express provision would affect the ECHR compatibility of the proposed Regulation.

  Is the Minister satisfied that 14 and 28 days periods (Article 15) are not too short?

  12.  Yes. A defendant within England and Wales has 14 days to state whether he disputes the claim. The 28 day period for those domiciled in another Member State will be greater than the 21 day period presently applicable under the Civil Procedure Rules. The Court of Appeal considered recently the factors relevant to considering what was a sufficient period: TSN Kunststoffrecycling GmbH v Jurgens [2002] 1 WLR 2459. The court was considering whether 14 days was too short a period to enable a defendant to arrange for his defence. Lord Justice Rix reviewed the ECJ jurisprudence on Article 27(2) of the Brussels Convention. He commented that the relevant period to evaluate was not just the 14 days for entering an appearance but also the time it would take to get a default judgment or to challenge registration. As well as the defendant's right to defend himself, regard was also to be had to the aim of the Convention that judgments can be speedily enforced in other contracting States. Whilst the Court did not have to determine whether 14 days was sufficient, the commentary is helpful in acknowledging the range of relevant considerations. Measured against those considerations, we consider that the 14 and 28 days periods are satisfactory.

  Should minimum rules be inserted to avoid undue delay in presenting an Order for enforcement?

  13.  Some mechanism may be beneficial for avoiding undue delay. In England and Wales a creditor generally needs the court's permission to issue enforcement proceedings more than six years after the date of the judgment. Sometimes, however, enforcement may be delayed for good reasons, for example where the creditor has held off until a debtor has found employment or his financial position has improved.

  14.  This issue has been raised in the negotiations. The Commission takes the view that the Regulation as drafted has the effect that the court in the Member State of origin has to be able to certify that the order is enforceable as at the date of the certificate. Whether this is entirely consistent with the proposal that the EEO certificate should be a purely administrative step is a matter for further discussion.

  Who has been consulted?

  15.  The Lord Chancellor's Department is consulting the Head of Civil Justice, the Association of District Judges*, the Senior Master and Foreign Process Section of the Royal Courts of Justice*, the Bar Council, the Law Society*, the Civil Court Users Association, the Association of Civil Enforcement Agents, the Certificated Bailiffs Association and Fay Silverstone (a lawyer at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer*. The Senior Master has been involved personally from an early stage in the development of the proposal. At the date of submitting this response, replies have been received from those marked*. The Department is willing to provide a summary of views when they have all been received.

  16.  The Scottish Executive Justice Department has consulted the Lord President of the Court of Session, Sheriffs Principal, Sheriffs, the Law Society of Scotland, the Society of Messengers-at-Arms and Sheriffs Officers and certain consumer interests as well as law faculties of Scottish Universities. Comments are still being received and will be non-attributable.

5 November 2002

Letter from the Chairman to the Rt Hon Baroness Scotland of Asthal QC, Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department

  Thank you for your letter of 5 November which was considered by Sub-Committee E (Law and Institutions) at its meeting on 20 November. The Committee is most grateful for the full and helpful explanation given in your letter. We note that the Government has opted into the adoption of the proposed Regulation. We are also pleased to learn that both the Lord Chancellor's Department and the Scottish Executive Justice Department are consulting judges, practitioners and other interested parties.

  The Committee decided to clear the document from scrutiny. We would be pleased to be kept informed of all material developments in the negotiation and to receive a summary of the views of consultees when available.

21 November 2002

Letter from the Rt Hon Baroness Scotland of Asthal QC, Parliamentary Secretary, to the Chairman

  Your predecessor wrote to me on 4 July 2002 with your Committee's response to this proposal. I replied on 5 November answering the points the Committee had raised and promising to provide a summary of the results of our consultation as requested.

  I now enclose a copy of that summary. For your information I also enclose a copy of the covering letter sent to those consulted which shows the specific questions on which we asked for a response. As you will see, in England and Wales we consulted the Master of the Rolls, the Association of District Judges, the Senior Master, the Bar Council and Law Society, the Civil Court Users Association, the Association of Civil Enforcement Agents, the Certified Bailiffs Association and a lawyer from Freshfields Brushaus Deringer who deals with European matters. Responses were received from all but the Civil Court Users Association and the Certified Bailiffs Association. All who responded were in favour of the proposal.

  As I said in my letter of 5 November the results of the Scottish consultation are non-attributable. I understand, however, that the Scottish Executive consulted the judiciary, The Law Society, consumer organisations and academic interests. All consultees were in broad support of the Regulation. As with the consultation in England and Wales, the issues raised included the minimum standards of service.

15 March 2003

Summary of consultation on the European Enforcement Order

Those consullted in England and Wales

  Master of the Rolls

  Association of District Judges

  Senior Master and the Foreign Process Section at the Royal Courts of Justice

  Bar Council

  Law Society

  Civil Court Users Association

  Association of Civil Enforcement Agents

  Certified Bailiffs Association

  Freshfields Brushaus Deringer (Lawyer dealing with European matters)

Responses received from

  Master of the Rolls

  Association of District Judges

  Senior Master and the Foreign Process Section at the Royal Courts of Justice

  Bar Council

  Law Society

  Freshfields Brushaus Deringer Lawyer

Nil returns received from

  Association of Civil Enforcement Agents

General points:

  The Master of the Rolls was in favour of the proposal in principle.

  The Association of District Judges welcomed the proposal to make judgments more readily enforceable in other Member States. However, the requirements as to time and method of service and information to be supplied meant that most default judgments of courts in England and Wales would not be capable as being certified as EEOs unless the judgment was served personally—as Article 19 allows.

  In principle, the Law Society considered it would be in the interests of claimants to give greater flexibility for the registration and enforcement of judgments from one country to another with the minimum of formalities. Practitioners favoured speeding up the process of registering English judgments in foreign jurisdictions. The same principle could apply to both contested and uncontested judgments.

  They reported differing judicial interpretations of the jurisdiction-allocating provisions in Regulation 44/2001 and urged that judges should be consistent in such matters of interpretation.

  The Bar Council agreed that this was a good proposal.

  The Senior Master and the Foreign Process Section at the Royal Courts of Justice considered this proposal was in principle acceptable and welcome. It placed the onus and enquiry on the Member State of origin which was in a far better position to verify the requirements involved than the Member State of enforcement. The minimum standards for service did not meet our requirements but in terms of the claim form, adequacy of time for defence etc were satisfactory.

Ordre public (public policy)

  The Association of District Judges saw the force of the argument for a "public policy" exception. They suggested that such an exemption would have to be carefully defined if it were not to lead to frequent challenge.

  The Bar Council considered that the concern about the omission of any public policy exception was meritorious, but suggested that Article 20(b) could address that issue.

Balance between costs of litigation and the rights of the defendant

  The Law Society said there was general support for the need to keep the costs of litigation as low as possible. The costs of enforcement abroad could be prohibitive towards bringing actions and this could contravene the rights of debtors.

Article 72 of the Brussels Regulation

  Freshfields Brushaus Deringer commented that Agreements concluded with third countries under Article 59 of the Brussels Convention must continue to be observed. She recommended consistency with the approach taken by the Brussels Regulation 44/2001.

Limits on issuing an EEO

  The Association of District Judges noted that the Annexes draw attention to the requirement that the judgment is enforceable in the Member State of origin. They suggested that consideration be given to a further Article in the Regulation to require that the certifying authority was satisfied that the judgment remained enforceable in the Member State of origin and that there had been no supervening event rendering it unenforceable. They also anticipated a domestic rule requiring the creditor to certify that there had been no supervening event rendering the judgment unenforceable.

  The Bar Council said that the method of enforcement would, under Article 21, be governed by the Member State of enforcement.


Article 3

  The Association of District Judges considered the definition of "uncontested claim" was appropriate. A certificate could only be issued after the ordinary appeal period (Article 5a) had expired and there were safeguards contained in Articles 20 and 23. Whilst the draft regulation did not appear to so state, it seemed implicit that on a retrial or appeal in the Member State or origin, that the EEO would fall if the Court set aside the judgment. They suggested that an appropriate Article should perhaps be included to restate this.

  If a tribunal award cam within the scope of the Regulation, the Association of District Judges thought it should be capable of enforcement as any other compliant judgment or order. However, it would be very difficult for a judge to give a certificate in relation to proceedings before a Tribunal as they would not know about their procedural rules. Also as regards tribunal decisions, the Bar Council noted that social security and arbitration matters would in any event be excluded from the ambit of the Regulation.

  The Law Society accepted that it was fair to treat an unexplained non-appearance at a trial hearing as rendering a case uncontested. Court procedures enabling applications to set aside provided a safeguard.

  The Bar Council considered that the definition of an uncontested claim was clear. Once it became contested, the proposed Regulation would no longer apply. If an appeal was unsuccessful, the order would be final and could be enforced in the usual manner.

  Freshfields Brushaus Deringer suggested that from an English law perspective it would be helpful to have the term "summons" defined.

  The Senior Master and the Foreign Process Section at the Royal Courts of Justice requested clarification of what level of judicial court activity was envisaged. It was unclear whether simple administrative activity would suffice or to what extent it would suffice. In our Courts uncontested money judgments were largely entered without any judicial involvement.

Article 4

  The Senior Master and the Foreign Process Section at the Royal Courts of Justice considered that there might be difficulties if the court of the Member State of enforcement could not give a judgment in the form sought.

Article 8

  The Association of District Judges agreed that there should be no right of appeal against the certificate. The procedure should be regarded as purely administrative. A debtor should only be able to impeach the integrity of the certification process if in a position to attack the underlying judgment. However, they wondered whether there should be a procedure whereby within strict time limits—say 14 days of service—the debtor should be able to challenge the certificate on the basis that it was issued incorrectly. It should however be the issuing court and not the receiving court which dealt with the application and such an application should not have the effect of staying execution.

  The Law Society also believed that save in circumstances where the judgment had been ordered to be set aside by the Court, the grant of the EEO certificate should be regarded as an administrative procedure. Generally the Court could set aside the judgment of enforcement.

  The Bar Council thought there was absolutely no need to have a power to appeal an EEO save under Article 20 otherwise you would return to the exequatur position.

Article 9

  Freshfields Brushaus Deringer suggested that the term "final decision" needed clarifying.

Article 11

  The Master of the Rolls believed that there would be a need to make special provision in the Civil Procedure Rules for the form of service necessary where an EEO was required. If that was so he saw no reason to object to the proposal.

  The Association of District Judges had no problem with the issue of an EEO following a judgment of our courts where the defendant was resident in another Member State and served in accordance with "local" rules which complied with the Regulation. As far as our own methods of service were concerned they commented that it was easy for a debtor to say that he did not receive the claim served by post, and practically impossible to prove that he did. Some applications to set aside judgment were, they thought, almost certainly fraudulent. We would need either to change the Civil Procedure Rules to require proof of receipt, or to impose a requirement of personal service where a claimant wanted the possibility of having a judgment certified as an EEO. They believed that which option was chosen was a matter of policy. If the second was chosen the utility of the Regulation would not be seriously compromised because in most cases the possibility of an EEO would not arise, and where it did, a potential creditor would adjust the way he or she dealt with the claim and particularly the service of it.

  The Association of District Judges questioned whether recorded delivery post fell within the definition of "signed and returned by the debtor". If it did, or could be widened to do so, some of the problems with service would be alleviated.

  The Association of District Judges were concerned that "competent official" would not include process servers, which are not public officials. As most of the matters to be certified on the appropriate Annexe were matters which were evident from the court file and or procedural rules, and therefore certifiable without further enquiry, it might be argued that judges would be reluctant to issue certificates based either on the evidence of the creditor (as to continuing enforceability) or on evidence of service by a process server in England and Wales, where that process server was not a competent official. This might also be seen as an obstacle by judges in other jurisdictions where the competent official was either an employee or an Officer of the court.

  The Law Society commented there should be a general uniformity in the rules as to the mode of service in all jurisdictions.

  The Bar Council commented that it would be preferable to limit the methods of service to those currently listed in the proposal—ie personal service, recorded mail service or acknowledged e-mail receipt.

  Freshfields Brushaus Deringer commented on continuing difficulties of interpretation with the Service Regulation 1348/2000. She also thought "competent official" needed to be defined.

  The Senior Master and the Foreign Process Section at the Royal Courts of Justice wondered whether there might be circumstances where the minimum standards for service could be reached even though the requirements of the Member State of enforcement were not met.

Article 12

  The Senior Master and the Foreign Process Section at the Royal Courts of Justice suggested that "reasonable efforts" needed clarification as it could be interpreted differently in different Member States. They also wanted to know whether substituted service was to be effected only if the court ordered it and specified the method.

Article 15

  The Association of District Judges agreed that the periods might be adequate but, on balance, should perhaps be increased to 28 and 42 days respectively. They added that there would be a need to make amendments to the Civil Procedure Rules to comply with the time limits.

  The Law Society considered that the minimum periods were sufficient.

  The Bar Council considered that the minimum periods for defence were fine as they were minima.

  Freshfields Brushaus Deringer considered the minimum periods were adequate and corresponded with those in the Civil Procedure Rules.

Article 16

  The Association of District Judges suggested there would be a need for a slight amendment of the claim form if for the purposes of this Regulation "domicile" were to retain its normal English juridical meaning.

Article 17

  The Association of District Judges thought the claim form or response pack would need to be amended or a specific notice would need to be endorsed to comply with this.

Article 18

  The Association of District Judges suggested that most standard notices of hearing would need amendment.

Article 19

  The Senior Master and the Foreign Process Section at the Royal Courts of Justice requested clarification (under paragraph 2) as to whom and to what standard proof was required to establish that the debtor had received the document in time to arrange his defence.

Article 22

  The Senior Master and the Foreign Process Section at the Royal Courts of Justice considered it was right that under no circumstances could the judgment or its certification as an EEO be reviewed as to their substance in the Member State of enforcement as the proposal envisaged appeal facilities in the Member State of origin.

Article 24

  Freshfields Brushaus Deringer raised the question of who would produce the information required for the purposes of this Article.

Article 25

  The Association of District Judges were content with the provisions of Article 25 as to court settlements. As to judgments for assessed damages, such an interlocutory judgment would not be capable of being certified as an EEO. Once damages were assessed, if they were assessed following a trial as to damages then they would expect such a judgment to be treated as a judgment after a full trial on liability and quantum; if the damages were assessed following non-appearance of the defendant at the damages trial then the same rules would apply as if he had not appeared at any trial.

  The Bar Council considered that including judgments and orders for assessed damages would overly complicate matters.

Article 27

  The Association of District Judges saw no reason to limit the scope of the Regulation to persons domiciled in the EU. Presence, or the presence of assets in the EU, should be all that was required.

  The Law Society considered it was right not to limit the scope to those domiciled in the EU.

  The Bar Council considered that the apparent lacuna between this proposal and the provisions in the Brussels Regulation on domicile needed to be addressed during negotiations.


  The European Commission recently issued a proposal for a European Enforcement Order for uncontested claims. I enclose a copy.

  As you may know, part of the conclusions of the European Council meeting in Tampere, Finland in October 1999 concerned the establishment of a "genuine European area of justice" where individuals and businesses are not prevented or discouraged from exercising their rights by the incompatibility or complexity of legal and administrative systems in Member States. The Tampere meeting helpfully decided that mutual recognition should be the cornerstone of judicial co-operation. On the civil side one way to achieve this would be to ensure that judgments given in one country can be enforced in another with the minimum for formality. This should be seen as an important step—but only one step—towards promoting easier access to justice across European borders. In due course we expect that it will be complemented, among other things, by work aimed at facilitating small claims across European borders.

  The Government is a strong supporter of the Tampere conclusions and we have been pressing for work on a European Enforcement Order to commence. In essence, we think the Commission has taken broadly the right approach. The proposal is a "pilot", limited to uncontested claims, but the principles, if agreed, could be extended to other types of judgments later. The main effect is that exequatur (the term for the conversion of foreign judgments into orders enforceable in the jurisdiction) would be abolished, so that uncontested judgments would be recognised more or less automatically. The safeguards associated with exequatur would be replaced by various minimum standards which must be complied with if a judgment is to be capable of certification as a European enforcement order.

  This kind of approach accords with what the Government has been arguing for, supported by various other countries, notably Germany and Sweden. The alternative might have been common rules imposed on Member States' legal systems, which might have been difficult to implement in a common law system.

  Negotiations on this proposal have recently commenced. Points that we definitely want to pursue include the approved methods of service which, in the text as drafted, do not reflect the use of first class post in England and Wales and Northern Ireland or registered post in Scotland. Another is the lack of a "public policy" exception to the rule that judgments should be recognised automatically, which appears in the Brussels I Regulation and which we will argue should be reinstated.

  Other points which will be under consideration in the Council working group, and which may serve as a focus for consideration include the following:

    —  To what extent would the omission of provision for postal service (from approved minimum standards of personal or substituted service, for individuals) detract from the utility of the Regulation?

    —  Do the proposed minimum standards strike the right balance between keeping the costs of litigation down and protecting the rights of debtors?

    —  Is it fair to treat an unexplained non-appearance at a trial hearing as rendering a case uncontested?

    —  The proposed Regulation does not limit its scope to persons domiciled in the EU. Is that the right approach?

    —  The proposed Regulation does not mention agreements made by individual Member States and third countries under Article 59 of the Brussels Convention regarding circumstances to be regarded as falling outside the jurisdiction of the Brussels Regulation. Should this Regulation follow the approach taken by the Brussels Regulation (Article 72) on this point?

    —  Is it necessary to have a power to appeal from the grant of the certificate, or is it right that it should be regarded as an administrative procedure?

    —  Are the minimum periods for preparing and filing a defence (Article 15) of 14 or 28 days sufficient?

    —  Is the wide definition of uncontested claim sufficiently clear and apt? Where a case is restored for hearing or appealed after the date an EEO certificate is granted, should it cease to be one capable of certification as an uncontested judgment?

    —  Can the terminology used as regards definitions of uncontested claims be applied to tribunal decisions that are enforceable via the civil courts?

    —  Does the terminology used sufficiently cover agreed court orders and judgments for assessed damages as well as judgments for debt and fully liquidated claims?

    —  Does the Regulation sufficiently cater for circumstances in which steps need to be taken between the date of judgment and the issue of enforcement proceedings? For example, leave to issue enforcement following the death of the creditor or assignment of the judgment, or delay exceeding 6 years in issuing enforcement?

  To help us in our forthcoming negotiations I would be grateful to receive any views you have on the proposal including, as appropriate, on the points above. If you have any questions or require any further information please feel free to contact me. I would appreciate your comments by Monday 9 September.

Eral Knight

Civil Justice Division

Letter from the Chairman to The Rt Hon Baroness Scotland of Asthal QC, Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department

  Thank you for your letter of 15 March. The Committee were most grateful for the information contained in your letter and also the summary of your consultation exercise.

  We would be pleased if you would keep the Committee informed of developments in the usual way.

3 April 2003

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