This article introduces you to the work of the Forum, established in 2017 and bringing together over 35 judicial representatives from across the globe to share best practice and to assist the effective resolution of commercial disputes.
Their work has recently focused on enforcement of debt judgments culminating in a multilateral memorandum which offers a guide to enforcement in countries such as China, France, Malaysia and Abu Dhabi.
The memorandum is concerned with commercial judgments requiring a person to pay a sum of money to another person and is a guide to enforcement in the countries participating in the memorandum. Some of the participant countries are also signatories to the 2005 Hague Convention on choice of court agreements that will grow in importance when the UK leaves the EU.
The Convention requires the courts of a party to the Convention chosen by contract, to accept jurisdiction in a dispute, and provides for enforcement by all signatory countries of the judgments of the courts chosen in the contract.
The memorandum will assist with a first port of call when considering how to enforce a debt judgment in one of the participating countries, with some country examples as follows:
- Abu Dhabi – the approach to enforcement is based on the English common law regime
- Australia – judgments for money are enforceable under either the Foreign Judgments Act 1991 and the Foreign Judgments Regulations 1992, or where not applicable, under common law and each state has its own procedure
- Canada – foreign judgments may be enforced if the foreign court had jurisdiction to hear the claim
- China – the starting point is to check whether there is an applicable and relevant Treaty between the judgment state and China
- France – amongst a few conditions, there must be a genuine link between the country whose court has been seized and the dispute
- Germany – if your judgment is final you will need to apply to the court of competent jurisdiction, in general the local or regional court with which the debtor has his general venue, asking them to deliver a judgment for enforcement
- Ireland – the process starts with issuing a summary summons in the High Court
- Malaysia – the process is governed by a mix of common law and legislation
- New York – recognition may be possible through an action for recognition and enforcement or a motion for summary judgment in lieu of a complaint in the State Court
The memorandum is a very helpful starting point for thinking about the ability to seek enforcement of your debt judgment overseas and within the countries affected. The guidance does not replace the need for specialist legal advice in the relevant jurisdiction.