Case Law Analysis: Orams v Apostolides Examines Enforcement of Foreign Judgments under EU Regulation 44/2001

Citation: [2006] EWHC 2226 (QB)
Judgment on


The case of Orams & Anor v Apostolides [2006] EWHC 2226 (QB) provides an insightful examination of the enforcement of foreign judgments within the framework of the European Union’s legal system, specifically under Council Regulation (EC) No. 44/2001. This case raises significant issues concerning the recognition of property rights, human rights implications, and the complexities arising from political and territorial disputes.

Key Facts

The Orams, appellants in the case, were involved in legal proceedings initiated by Apostolides, the respondent, regarding land situated in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), an area outside the effective control of the Republic of Cyprus yet still considered part of its territory. Apostolides obtained a default judgment in Cyprus against the Orams, which was then registered for enforcement in England under Regulation 44/2001. The Orams appealed against the registration, invoking several legal principles governing the recognition and enforcement of judgments.

Enforceability and Council Regulation (EC) No. 44/2001

The central legal question pertains to the enforceability of Cypriot judgments in the UK concerning land located in the TRNC. The Protocol 10 to the Treaty of Accession of Cyprus to the EU suspended the acquis communautaire in the northern part of Cyprus not controlled by the Republic of Cyprus. The court examined whether this suspension affected the applicability of Regulation 44/2001, concluding that the Regulation does not apply to areas where the Republic of Cyprus does not exercise effective control, thereby impacting the enforceability of judgments concerning such areas.

Article 34.2 of Regulation 44/2001 and Default Judgments

Article 34.2 outlines that a default judgment should not be recognized if the defendant was not served with the initiating document in sufficient time to arrange for their defense, unless they failed to challenge the judgment when possible. The court considered the adequacy of the time between the service of the writ and the entry of the default judgment. Given the exceptional circumstances surrounding the service and recognition of the practical difficulties faced by the appellants, the court concluded that the time provided was not sufficient.

Human Rights Considerations

Claims regarding violations of Article 6 (right to a fair trial) and Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 (property rights) to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) were raised. The court found that neither of these Articles was engaged in a way that would contravene public policy or prohibit recognition of the judgments under Article 34.1 of Regulation 44/2001.

Article 24 of Regulation 44/2001 and Jurisdiction

The court also dealt with Article 24, which concerns jurisdiction when a defendant enters an appearance. It was determined that entering an unconditional appearance does not confer jurisdiction under Article 24 if the appearance was made with the intention to contest jurisdiction, aligning with the circumstances of the appellants.


The appeals were allowed, and the judgments obtained by Apostolides in the District Court of Nicosia against the Orams were held not to be enforceable in England pursuant to Regulation 44/2001. The court took a stance that effectively acknowledged the unique political and territorial situation in Cyprus and its implications for the enforcement of judgments.


Orams & Anor v Apostolides elucidates the complex interaction between EU law, human rights considerations, and territorial disputes. The case underscores the necessity for courts to navigate sensitively within these intersections, specifically when enforcing foreign judgments. The court’s systematic approach emphasizes the fundamental principles of procedural fairness and the right to defend, highlighting the limitations imposed by Regulation 44/2001 in contexts where the acquis communautaire is suspended. For legal practitioners in the UK, this case acts as a precedent for understanding the nuances of judgments concerning land in contested territories and their cross-border enforceability.