The father of Eliana Pretorian, a soprano opera singer had entered into a contract with Ion Vasile, a Romanian businessman to help fund her music education, when she was 17. It allowed Mr Vasile to claim up to 35% of her earnings at any time during her professional career.

This case has recently had some news coverage. Mr. Vasile was able to get judgment against her in Romania, but as she is based in the UK, and presumably on the understanding that she had property and assets here in the UK, chose to enforce the judgment here.

If you are facing claims abroad, be aware that if you have assets over here in the UK, where there are reciprocal arrangements or international treaties in place allowing recognition of judgments abroad, you may have to face the enforcement of that foreign judgment here. Claimants from the European Member states (including Romania) can all enforce their claims here without having to re-start their claim.

Where there are no reciprocal arrangements or international treaties the foreign Claimant may have to start their claim all over again here to be able to pursue a Defendant based in England or Wales. In these cases, strict time limits may indeed apply. Further, there is a greater difficulty, as they will have to show that there is no conflict with English common law, or other public policy matters, in doing so.

Between European countries the arrangements to bring a claim and to enforce a claim, as suggested above have been made easier. A claim made here can be treated as having been delivered in the court in the member state where enforcement is sought. This way of recovering money debts can be useful as a debtor is unlikely to respond to a claim if it has no assets in the country where the claim is started but will do so if assets in its home country are threatened.

As for the case by Mr Vasile, ultimately his bid to recover money from Eliana Pretorian failed as he could not show that she had not disclosed all her assets as required by the courts. It goes to show that when bringing a claim, obtaining a judgment doesn’t always mean you will recover the money.

The position of non-European countries is different and if you would like to find out more about this, or any of the issues referred to above, please  contact Bhavini Kalaria at The London Law Practice on 0208 445 6753 or info@londonlawpractice.com

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