The Court of Appeal has just decided that while a foreign judgment is capable of being declared enforceable in Malta against an insolvent company on the basis of the provisions of EC Regulation 44/2001 (the Brussels Regulation), the foreign judgment cannot actually be enforced. This was the essence of two judgments delivered by the Court of Appeal in the names of Av. Dr Zammit Maempel on behalf of Elena Maci vs European Insurance Group Limited and Av. Dr Zammit Maempel on behalf of Sabrina Cassone vs European Insurance Group Limited, delivered by the Court of Appeal on the 22nd February 2013 and the 25th January 2013, respectively.
The judgments were handed down following appeal proceedings filed by European Insurance Group Limited (“EIG”) against judgments of the First Hall, Civil Court, which declared a foreign judgment enforceable in Malta against EIG in terms of the Brussels Regulation and also ordered the enforcement thereof. The Court of Appeal, while confirming the judgments appealed from insofar as they declared the foreign judgments enforceable in Malta, revoked the remaining part of the judgments of the First Hall, Civil Court insofar as these ordered the enforcement of the foreign judgments. A judgment which is declared enforceable on the basis of the Brussels Regulation can be executed as though it is a judgment handed down by the Maltese courts and, consequently, cannot be enforced in circumstances where a judgment handed down by the Maltese courts cannot be enforced, including, with relevance to these cases, where enforcement would prejudice the rights of the general body of creditors of a company in a state of insolvency.
EIG, a Maltese company previously licensed to carry on insurance business in terms of the Insurance Business Act (Cap.403), and whose liquidation was ordered by the Malta Financial Services Authority pursuant to the same Act, was represented by Henri Mizzi and Malcolm Falzon.