In September 2013, Singapore and Vietnam signed a Joint Statement on Strategic Partnership, further promoting cooperation in the legal and judicial spheres between the two nations, and improving the understanding of their respective laws, legal systems, and institutions. The Joint Statement also grants greater mutual access to both countries’ legal services industry, allowing both parties the opportunity to provide and engage in legal services in the other jurisdiction. This will in turn strengthen both legal and economic cooperation between Singapore and Vietnam.
Moreover, the Joint Statement also aids in the mutual enforcement of judgments. Traditionally, foreign judgments are mostly recognised on a reciprocal basis, which rarely occurs, leaving a vast majority of foreign judgments unenforceable in Vietnam courts. However, the signing of this Joint Statement could be seen as a first step in correcting this position. The Singapore-Vietnam Memorandum of Understanding on Legal and Judicial Cooperation (2008) provides mutual legal assistance between both countries. Coupled with the Joint Statement, the Memorandum could establish a concrete basis for further recognition and enforcement of Singapore judgments in Vietnam.
The Joint Statement is thus another progressive step for the mutual recognition and enforcement of Singapore and Vietnam's judgments in each other's national courts. However, it remains to be seen when and how this will be implemented in practice, and further legal guidance and provisions will be needed.