We specialize in getting foreign court judgments enforced in Russia. It is one of the major focus areas of our activity and something that we have been doing successfully for over 10 years already. We have studied all ins and outs of such cases and we have defended economic interests of thousands of customers originating from dozens of countries. Given the intricacies of the Russian law, it is not so simple to legalize and enforce a foreign state judgment: there is a special recognition procedure set for such judgments. You cannot merely translate one into Russian and submit it for execution to a bank or state authority.

You can order the service by clicking the link or just writing us an e-mail.

Everything has to be done through legal action. Yes, there will be another trial after the initial one, but it will already be in Russia.

Although our office is located in Moscow, we can get a foreign court judgment enforced in Russia in any region of the country. Which court and what city or town you have to address for obtaining the recognition of a foreign judgment in the RF depends on the place your defendant resides or is registered. Most frequently, we can legalize a judgment in a remote way without having to visit the location. Over the time of our experience, we have legalized and enforced judgments made almost in all countries of the European Union and the CIS. We can get enforced court judgments made in virtually any state, except some countries of Africa and Asia.

Hence there is no need to worry if you have a foreign court decision – most probably, it is enforceable in Russia. Well, this is not quite easy and is not done immediately, you will have to compile a set of documents, but everything is realistic. We have got it done a zillion times, and we are sure to get it done as well in your case.

So, you have a judgment on hand that has to be enforced in Russia. The case may be that the judgment concerns a debtor entity located in Russia, or the debtor has property in Russia, or there is a divorce decision concerning a marriage in Russia and you would like to obtain a Russian divorce certificate. We can get all of these done.

What is your procedure? Here everything is described in detail.

The state sovereignty and independence of the legal and judicial systems of the Russian Federation dictate a special procedure of recognition (execution order) and enforcement of foreign court judgments within our country. Meanwhile, Russia recognizes and guarantees the compulsory manner of enforcement of the court decisions having the legal force; this principle has been created on the basis of international contracts within the framework of close international cooperation, including that between countries belonging to different legal systems.

For enforcing a judgment in Russia, one has to understand that judgments made by foreign courts have no direct effect for execution by the Russian authorities. They cannot be merely translated into Russian and submitted for execution to enforcement officers, banks or other agencies obliged to enforce court decisions, e.g. Civil Status Registration Office. So they have to be legalized in strict accordance to the procedure provided for by the Russian procedural law.


In this article, we will tell you how to enforce a judgment in the RF according to the current norms of the law and the practices established in the country.

For you to understand the legalization procedure and the existing particularities more easily, we will give two examples using which we will try to explain how to enforce a judgment in Russia: a divorce decision of a district court of the Czech Republic and an award of the Ukrainian arbitration (local commercial) court of recovering a debt from a Russian company.

Before setting to work on your case for solving the question of how to legalize the judgment, we usually start with analyzing the situation and documents, the foreign court decision included. Proceeding from the results of this, we elaborate our legal reasoning because much depends on the state from which the judicial act originates.

As we have mentioned, the process of recognition and enforcement of a foreign court judgment relies on the existence of mutual international contracts to which both the Russian Federation and the country of the decision-making court authority are parties. For example, in order to enforce a judgment in the RF, speaking about the Czech Republic and the Ukraine, it has to be noted that the countries’ mutual relations on the questions of a foreign court judgment recognition are built on the grounds of a number of conventions on legal assistance between the states in enforcement of court decisions in various branches of law.

However, the actual practice is currently such as judgments made by foreign judicial authorities may be recognized and enforced in the Russian territory even without a special contract between countries, too. For a judgment to be recognized in Russia, the following circumstance plays an important part: if you are able to prove that judgments of the Russian courts are recognized and enforced within the state the court of which made the judgment in question. This matters for our courts because one of the lines consistently followed by the Russian Federation in its international legal relations is the reciprocity principle – roughly, «as you treat our citizens, so we treat yours.

The countries undertake to each other to recognize and enforce in their territory the judgments, including judicial orders, awards of mediation courts, and decisions by which amicable agreements are approved between dispute parties and which are made in respect of the Russian citizens, organizations having the executive or permanently acting office located in Russia, and the state authorities. As of today, the categories of such cases for which foreign judgments need to be recognized are as follows:

  1. judicial acts on any civil cases, family disputes included;
  2. judicial acts concerning the remedy of damages inflicted by a crime committed;
  3. judicial acts on disputes between entities in relation to their entrepreneurial activity (cases resolved by arbitration courts and non-state mediation courts according to jurisdiction).

With regard to this, procedural law stipulates exceptional instances in which the case of a foreign court judgment enforcement shall be heard in the Russian courts only (for example, a dispute over rights for immovable property located in the Russian territory; issues of marital union cancellation between the foreign citizens and Russian subjects, with both spouses permanently residing in Russia). If these rules of jurisdiction are not adhered to, the Russian court will reject execution order of a foreign judicial act because it will contradict the Russian legality.

The objectives of the procedure of a foreign court judgment recognition consist in checking it for conformity to standards of the international contracts but the most important aspect is the actually existing possibility of its being enforced within the Russian Federation.

Next, we usually ask the court to consider recognition and enforcement of the foreign court judgment in the Russian Federation necessary. As appropriate, we also compile any applications and motions additionally required for the proceedings, in particular, to call evidence and to revive missed deadlines.

You are entitled to file a foreign judgment for enforcement before three years expiring from the date the judgment became effective according to the law of the country where it was made. If you have missed the deadline, you have to revive it by filing an additional motion describing valid reasons that prevented you from submitting the foreign judicial act for enforcement – e.g. a prolonged illness actually limiting your legal capacity for a long period of time.

A motion of recognition and enforcement of a foreign court judgment in the RF shall contain:

  1. the main details of the court, the applicant, the debtor (name and address of the court; name of the entity; surname, name and patronymic of a citizen; their places of location and residence, respectively; for quick communication, if appropriate, telephone / fax numbers and e-mail addresses);
  2. details of the court judgment (name of the foreign court having made the judgment; dates of the judgment being made and becoming effective) and in brief – the main essence thereof (literally, how much shall be recovered from whom on what grounds and for whose benefit; who divorced, and the like);
  3. references to standards and laws (please refer to the international acts and contracts of recognition and enforcement of court decisions with the relevant foreign state; if these were not made, you will have to refer to any known to you facts of legalization of the Russian judicial acts within this state);
  4. clearly worded plea to the court – to permit enforcement of a foreign court judgment (as an option, enforcement of a foreign judicial act can be provided for from a particular time point).

The procedural law also sets the list of documents to be enclosed to the motion of a foreign judgment legalization:

  1. the text of the foreign judicial act you need to be recognized and enforced in the territory of Russia (a copy of the foreign judgment shall be certified by the court accepting it);
  2. a document to confirm the relevant judicial act coming into its legal force as per the law of the foreign state (no such document may be available if the copy of the court decision bears the mark of becoming effective (e.g. a stamp on the Russian judicial acts) – please check this point);
  3. confirming documents if you have already succeeded in obtaining partial enforcement within your state;
  4. another compulsory item is proofs of the losing party having been duly notified (in case the party did not attend the foreign trial directly) about the time and place of the case hearing.

Please note that an international contract may contain further requirements as for the list of documents to be enclosed.

A necessary condition for filing with a court is translation into the Russian language of the documents provided by the customer. The translation has to be certified by a notary public; we can draw up such translations, too.

When working on requests of recognizing a judgment in Russia, we hold it as a compulsory step to agree with the customer the content of the drawn up procedural documents before submitting them to the court.

The following stage is filing a motion with a court in the RF about recognition and enforcement of a foreign court judgment. In order to legalize a judgment by a Ukrainian arbitration (commercial) court about recovery of debt from a Russian company, you have to address to an arbitration court of a subject of the RF, i.e. to a lowest-tier arbitration court. For civil cases associated with recognition of another state court judgment (in our example this is the Czech decision on a family dispute but it can refer to any civil dispute), there is a special jurisdiction. Firstly, such cases are heard by courts of the RF subjects and not by district courts, i.e. by the supreme courts of republics, territories, regions and others corresponding to them. Secondly, this will be the RF subject in which the debtor resides (or the entity is situated) or the RF subject where the property is located (in case it is unknown where your debtor’s residence or office is). You should pay attention because if you submit your motion to a wrong court, the motion will be returned, which can result in your missing the set deadline for filing motions of this type. Please remember that a mistake in jurisdiction and the time of waiting for the motion to be returned are not valid excuses for reviving the filing term.

If the above particularities are observed, the Russian court will accept the motion for consideration.

While studying the case, the Russian court will not be able to reconsider a foreign judgment on the merits.

If the judgment about upholding the motion of legalization of a judicial act is positive, the court defines on executing the foreign judicial act, and a writ of execution is issued upon its becoming effective.

Thus, the brief procedure of legalization of a judicial act in the examples cited by us above will be as follows. The applicant has to go to a Russian court of a subject of the RF with the Czech divorce judgment and the motion, to file all the required documents as specified in the procedural law, and to obtain a definition of the Russian court. Then the applicant has to bring this judicial act to a Russian Civil Status Registration Office, and obtain the divorce certificate there. A Ukrainian judgment will pass through the same stages. Note that it is only the court definition certifying recognition of a foreign court judgment that enables one to obtain a writ of execution, the writ to be forwarded either to enforcement officers for initiating execution proceedings or to the bank.

If you trust us your case of a foreign court judgment recognition, we will undertake representing your interests in the court proceedings, go up to obtaining a positive for you judicial act as well as a writ of execution, and organize the enforced fulfillment thereof. We can also guarantee you the complete control over the process of fulfilling the court ruling and we will submit a report form on the results of execution proceedings. We will translate your documents for the court into Russian, and our procedural documents for the court and the judgment itself into the English language in order to keep you completely informed.

You can order the service by clicking the link or just writing us an e-mail.