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Recognition and enforcement procedure
What is the formal procedure for seeking recognition and enforcement of a foreign judgment?
To initiate the procedure for recognising a foreign judgment, the judgment must be deposited with the Qatari courts, along with an authenticated and certified translation in Arabic if necessary.
Once recognition of the foreign judgment has been satisfied, a writ of execution must be filed in the Court of Execution, after which the applicant will be provided with a hearing date for the execution order to be granted. Unless specific provisions state otherwise, the debtor will be given at least one day’s notice before the writ of execution is carried out.
What is the typical timeframe for the proceedings to grant recognition and enforcement?
Qatari law does not provide for a timeframe for the enforcement of a foreign money judgment, as this is subject to the court being satisfied that the requirements to grant the recognition and enforcement of the foreign judgment have been met. Further, the timeframe is dependent on how the parties choose to put their arguments before the court and whether any judgment issued is appealed to the Court of Appeal and the Court of Cassation. However, in practice, this process takes approximately one year from the commencement of the recognition and enforcement proceedings until its conclusion.
What fees apply to applications for recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments?
The court fees applicable to the registration of a foreign judgment in Qatar is QR1,000. In addition, applicants will incur the professional fees of engaging a law firm to assist in the application.
Must the applicant for recognition and enforcement provide security for costs?
Applicants seeking the recognition and enforcement of a foreign judgment in Qatar need not provide security for costs.
Are decisions on recognition and enforcement subject to appeal?
Yes, Court of Execution decisions can be appealed to the Court of Appeal and the Court of Cassation. In 2012 the Court of Appeal refused to enforce a French judgment on the basis that it was not final as the respondent had appealed it before the French Court of Appeal.
How does the enforcing court address other costs issues arising in relation to the foreign judgment (eg, calculation of interest, exchange rates)?
If a foreign money judgment is in a foreign currency, it need not be converted into local currency. At the point of execution, the applicant must ask the Qatar Central Bank for the relevant exchange rate, which will be applied to the foreign judgment.
Interest on foreign judgments is allowed as compensation.
Enforcement against third parties
To what extent can the courts enforce a foreign judgment against third parties?
During proceedings regarding the enforcement of a foreign judgment, the Qatari courts can ask government entities, the Qatar Central Bank and statutory bodies, among others, whether they possess any assets or monies which belong to the party against which the foreign judgment is being sought.
Further, a specific request can be made under Article 445 of the Civil and Commercial Procedural Code to see whether the applicant knows of any debt owed to the party against which the foreign judgment is being sought by a third party. The specific request can be done orally or by way of a written application at the hearing. Such debt need not be due immediately and can be conditional. Only moveables or debts of the debtor that are in the third party’s possession can be the subject of the foreign judgment enforcement proceeding.
Once such a request has been made, the court will issue a letter to the third party asking it to confirm the amount of debt owed to the debtor and the nature of the debt. Once the formalities have been satisfied, the court will order the third party to deposit the amount owed to the debtor to the court, which will subsequently be released to the applicant.
Partial recognition and enforcement
Can the courts grant partial recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments?
The law is silent on whether the Qatari courts can grant partial recognition and enforcement of a foreign judgment. If the courts cannot recognise and enforce part of a foreign judgment, they can grant partial recognition and enforcement relating to only the specific portion of the foreign judgment that is able to be recognised and enforced, as envisaged in the League of Arab States, Riyadh Arab Agreement for Judicial Cooperation 1983.