Civil legal aid cases under the European judgements convention: modified application procedure

Special arrangements apply where legal aid is sought to enforce certain judgements in terms of the Convention on Jurisdiction and the Enforcement of Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters.

The purpose of the Convention is:

  • To determine the international jurisdiction of the courts of the contracting states
  • To facilitate recognition of, and provide an expeditious procedure for securing enforcement of, judgements of these courts.

The Convention applies in civil and commercial matters, and details rules for the recognition of judgements with a minimum of formality and the enforcement of judgements according to the law of the contracting state in which enforcement is sought.

In the UK, any interested party in another contracting state may apply to the appropriate court for the judgement to be registered for enforcement.  In Scotland, the appropriate court is the Court of Session, unless your client’s application relates to a maintenance judgement, when it is the sheriff court for the place of domicile of the party against whom enforcement is sought.

Special provisions are made where legal aid is sought to apply to:

  • The Court of Session for the registration for enforcement of a judgement other than a maintenance order
  • The sheriff court for the registration for enforcement of a maintenance order or any proceedings following on such an application.

In either case:

  • there is no need for enquiry into your client’s resources, who cannot be required to pay a contribution
  • any property recovered or preserved for them is exempt from “clawback”.

The usual procedural application requirements need not apply:

  • Either your client or you must sign the application
  • You must sign and submit with the application a statement explaining the nature of the case and your client’s interest in it.
  • No supporting statements are needed but you need to provide documents to satisfy us on probable cause and reasonableness.
  • The legal aid application will not be intimated to any other party

Make it very clear that a convention application is involved and normal requirements need not apply.

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