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Recognition and enforcement procedure
What is the formal procedure for seeking recognition and enforcement of a foreign judgment?
The Court of Cassation has confirmed Article 379 of the Civil Procedure Code, which requires that the enforcement of a foreign judgment must be pursued following the usual procedures involved in the filing of a fresh legal action. Although this does not involve a substantive re-trial on the merits of the matter, it does require a court-based process to be followed, including:
- the filing of a legal action;
- service of process;
- the submission and exchange of pleadings; and
- attendance at court hearings.
The first step is to file a legal action seeking an exequatur in respect of the judgment. If the court accepts the application for the recognition of the judgment, it will grant it the exequatur so that it is enforceable in Qatar. These decisions are subject to two levels of appeal before the Court of Appeals and the Court of Cassation.
After the exequatur is granted, the applicant will be entitled to initiate execution proceedings to seek the enforcement of the judgment. The execution case will be filed by virtue an application to the Execution Court. When the application is registered, a case number will be assigned to it and a hearing date will be set, usually within four to six weeks from the date of filing. Then, the enforcement of the judgment will proceed under the supervision of the Execution Court.
What is the typical timeframe for the proceedings to grant recognition and enforcement?
Generally, proceedings before the Execution Court will be completed in six to nine months. An additional four to six months may be required before the Court of Appeals, and potentially another two to four months will be required if the claim goes before the Court of Cassation. However, it is difficult to anticipate the length of time that the execution proceedings might take. As a matter of procedure in Qatar, judgments issued by first-instance courts are executable unless:
- execution is suspended by the Court of Appeals following an application by the other party demonstrating that it will suffer irreparable damages as a result of execution before the judgment becomes final (which also refers to one of the requirements in Article 380 of the Civil Procedure Code); or
- the other party presents a bank guarantee for the full value of the judgment.
What fees apply to applications for recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments?
The fee for the writ of exequatur (ie, effecting recognition) is QR100. Execution of the foreign judgment will require payment of a maximum fee of QR1,000.
Must the applicant for recognition and enforcement provide security for costs?
No – the Qatari courts do not make orders in respect of security for costs, and the law does not require a party to provide security for costs.
Are decisions on recognition and enforcement subject to appeal?
Yes – decisions by the Execution Court may be subject to a further two-stage appeal process through the Court of Appeals up to and including the Court of Cassation.
How does the enforcing court address other costs issues arising in relation to the foreign judgment (eg, calculation of interest, exchange rates)?
The enforcing courts are only permitted to award sums that are included in the final foreign judgment (ie, if the foreign judgment does not mention the imposition of interest then the Qatari courts will not apply interest). If a Qatari court is required to calculate interest, it will either refer the matter to the accounting department in the judiciary or calculate the interest itself.
If a Qatari court is required to apply an exchange rate to an award, it will send a letter to the Qatar Central Bank to confirm the applicable exchange rate, which will then be applied to the judgment.
Enforcement against third parties
To what extent can the courts enforce a foreign judgment against third parties?
The Qatari courts will enforce judgments only against the parties named in the judgment. They will not enforce a judgment against a third party.
Partial recognition and enforcement
Can the courts grant partial recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments?
Although the new arbitration law of Qatar addresses the partial enforcement of foreign awards, no such provisions exist in the Civil Procedure Code. It is therefore unclear whether the local courts have discretion grant partial enforcement of a foreign judgment, although it is unlikely in any event that the courts would elect to do so.
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