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Trade Agency Notes

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TRADE AGENCY FACTS The reference has been made in proceedings between Trade Agency Ltd ('Trade Agency') and Seramico Investments Ltd ('Seramico') concerning the recognition and enforcement in Latvia, under Regulation No 44/2001, of a judgment in default delivered by the High Court of Justice of England and Wales, Queen's Bench Division (United Kingdom). Seramico brought an action before the High Court of Justice against Trade Agency and Hill Market Management LLP to obtain payment of GBP 289 122.10. As is clear from the file and the information provided by the High Court of Justice, the originating application was served on the defendants on 10 September 2009. However, when no defence to the action was filed by Trade Agency the High Court of Justice delivered a judgment in default of appearance on 8 October 2009 ordering Trade Agency to pay a total sum of GBP 293 582.98 based on the following grounds: 'You have not replied to the claim form, which was served on you. It is therefore ordered that you must pay the claimant GBP 289 122.10 for debt [and interest to the date of the judgement] and GBP 130.00 for costs. You must pay to the claimant a total of GBP 293 582.98'. On 28 October 2009 Seramico submitted to the Rigas pilsetas Ziemelu rajona tiesa (District Court North Riga) (Latvia) an application for recognition and enforcement in Latvia of the High Court judgment. Trade Agency then brought an appeal in cassation before the Augstakas tiesas Senats (Senate of the Supreme Court) (court of cassation), arguing that the application for recognition and enforcement in Latvia of the judgment of the High Court of Justice should be rejected on the ground that its rights of defence had been breached during the proceedings in England, since it had not been informed that legal proceedings had been instituted before the High Court of Justice and that the latter's judgment was manifestly contrary to Latvian public policy since it did not give any reasons. QUESTION Is a decision given in default of appearance, which disposes of the substance of a dispute without examining either the subject-matter of the claim or the grounds on which it is based and sets out no reasoning as to the substantive basis of the claim, compatible with Article 47 of the Charter and does it not infringe the defendant's right to a fair hearing, laid down by the provision?

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