Despite common roots, litigation practice in the various European countries can be remarkably different. Attempts to create a common European code of civil procedure or at least to harmonize procedural law in Europe have been greeted with little enthusiasm and have stalled for a number of reasons. Three procedural scholars from Belgium and the Netherlands have thus decided to edit a series of books that describe and analyze in some detail individual parts of the litigation law in the various European countries in order to provide the necessary comparative groundwork from which to build a more harmonized European law of procedure.
This is the third book in this series, focusing on the recognition and enforcement of judgments. The book contains 19 extensive national reports and a general report by the editors of the book. The focus is on the recognition and enforcement outside of the framework of the Brussels Convention, now the Brussels Regulation, and the parallel Lugano Convention. Thus, the book deals with the recognition and enforcement of judgments that emanate from non-member states of the Conventions and with the recognition of judgments in subject matters that are not covered by the Conventions, such as family law and succession. Thus, both the book and our chapter should be of interest not only to Europeans but to all non-Europeans interested in a more detailed account of recognition law in Europe. We cover in some depth the sources of recognition law, recognizable judgments, recognition requirements, and, briefly, recognition procedure. We identify similarities, trends, regional specialties and differences in recognition laws, but we also realize that, due to a number of discretionary rules, there is perhaps a bigger gap between the written law and the law as applied by the courts in recognition law than in other parts of the law of procedure, at least in civil law countries. Thus, while we made some interesting discoveries with regard to actual practice, we also conclude that further comparative research is needed in this area.