Do you have an upcoming exequatur procedure? Our lawyers in Barcelona wrote this article to offer basic information on the exequatur procedure in Spain.

The exequatur (also denominated as exequátur o execuátur) is a legal procedure that is used to examine whether a foreign judge’s judgment (or decision or arbitral award) is valid and meets certain requirements needed to take full effect in Spain, and whether it can be implemented in a country other than the one it was issued.

What does this mean?

If you have a judgment issued by a foreign court, probably the judgment might not have validity in Spain if you do not homologate it.

What can I do to make this foreign judgment valid?

To make a foreign judgment valid, you must get it homologated so it can have executive force in Spain. Executive force means that you execute the foreign judgment, for example, by asking for embargoes to ensure that it is complied with.

How do I get a foreign judgment homologated?

Through an exequatur request before a Spanish judge or court. Our Spanish lawyers can assist you with homologating a foreign judgment.

Can arbitral awards also be homologated through an exequatur?

Yes, they can also be homologated.


Exequatur procedures are regulated in articles 951 to 958, Section II, “Of judgments rendered by Foreign Courts” of Title VIII “Of the execution of judgments” of the Civil Procedure Act of 1881. Also, within the European Union, when it comes to recognizing and enforcing a judgment made by a Court of a Member State of the European Union, Council Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 of 22 December 2000 on judicial competence applies. Additionally, Council Regulation (EC) 2201/2003 of 27 November 2003 concerning jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in matrimonial matters and the matters of parental responsibility, repealing Regulation (EC) 1347/2000, are applicable.

The Proceeding

Article 36 of the aforementioned regulation 44/2001 establishes that the foreign judgment may in no case be subject to a review of its contents.

The Courts of First Instance review executors. However, the Commercial Courts will do the reviewing in the case of a judgment or judicial resolution that deals with commercial matters.

With regard to territorial jurisdiction, the Court of First Instance of the domicile or place of residence of the party against whom recognition or enforcement is sought, or of the domicile or place of residence of the person to whom the effects of the recognition or enforcement refer, shall have jurisdiction.

Once the application has been filed with the court, the judge shall give a hearing to the party against whom it is directed and to the public prosecutor’s office. In addition, the opposing party will have a period of 30 days from the receipt of the communication for its compliance. If this period has passed and the opposing party has not appeared, the court must proceed with the hearing of the case.

Once this has been done, the judge will declare whether or not to comply with the execution requested. The Court may homologate the award issued in the foreign country or not homologate it.

DISCLAIMER: This article is not official legal advice, for official legal advice contact our Spanish lawyers.

Piñera del Olmo

 Aribau 114, entlo 2a
 08036 Barcelona

 Phone: +34 93 514 39 97

 Fax: +34 93 127 07 66