Legislation

Treaties

Is your country party to any bilateral or multilateral treaties for the reciprocal recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments? What is the country’s approach to entering into these treaties, and what, if any, amendments or reservations has your country made to such treaties?

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is party to several bilateral and multilateral treaties for the reciprocal recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments.

Broadly speaking, the reason that Jordan has entered and continues entering into such treaties is to facilitate and enhance judicial cooperation between states, and also to facilitate the trade process with the states that are party to such treaties. International trade relationships entail multi-level interaction among parties, which on occasions may lead to commercial disputes, which in turn may result in court cases and claims. Jordan’s general approach is to have an active presence in as many unified international and regional systems of judicial procedures as possible, in addition to taking a proactive approach on investment. By entering into such bilateral and multilateral treaties, Jordan wishes to provide a secure investment environment operating within a unified rule-based set of judicial frameworks, whereby judgments obtained both inside and outside Jordan can be enforced in Jordan without any peculiarities other than the basic international enforcement requirements.

Below is a non-exhaustive list of some bilateral and multilateral treaties for the reciprocal recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments to which Jordan is party.

Multilateral treaties
  • The New York Arbitration Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards 1958.
  • International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (signatory and contracting state, 1972).
  • The Riyadh Arab Agreement for Judicial Cooperation 1983 (the Riyadh Agreement).
  • Agreement on the Enforcement of Judgments between the States of the Arab League 1952.
Bilateral treaties
  • Judicial cooperation treaty between Jordan and Algeria 2001.
  • Judicial cooperation treaty between Jordan and Yemen 2001.
  • Judicial cooperation treaty in civil, commercial and personal and criminal matters between Jordan and Kuwait 2006.
  • Judicial cooperation treaty between Jordan and the United Arab Emirates 1999.
  • Judicial cooperation treaty between Jordan and Qatar 1997.
  • Judicial cooperation treaty between Jordan and Egypt 1987.
  • Judicial cooperation treaty between Jordan and Tunisia 1965.
  • Judicial cooperation treaty between Jordan and Lebanon 1954.
  • Judicial cooperation treaty between Jordan and Syria 1953.

At the time of writing, and based on research, Jordan has not made any amendments to these treaties.

Jordan has made one reservation on its ratification of the New York Arbitration Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards 1958.

Intra-state variations

Is there uniformity in the law on the enforcement of foreign judgments among different jurisdictions within the country?

Jordan has a unified and uniform legislative and jurisdictional system that applies to all Jordan governorates, and this is also applicable to the system governing the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments in Jordan.

Sources of law

What are the sources of law regarding the enforcement of foreign judgments?

With regard to the enforcement of foreign judgments in Jordan, there are a number of sources of domestic law in Jordan, including:

  • the bilateral and multilateral treaties to which Jordan is a signatory regarding the subject matter, and which have been approved by the Jordanian parliament;
  • the Jordanian Law of Enforcement of Foreign Judgments No. 8/1952 (the Law);
  • the Jordanian Code of Civil Procedures No. 24/1988 and its amendments; and
  • the Jordanian Enforcement Law No. 29/2017.

With regard to case-law sources in Jordan on the subject matter, broadly speaking, Jordan is a civil law system jurisdiction, which means that case law is considered as a secondary and subordinate source of law to statutory law. However, in practice, case law is considered as a valid guidance source in Jordan, and the Jordanian judiciary regards case law as a valuable reference source.

Hague Convention requirements

To the extent the enforcing country is a signatory of the Hague Convention on Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters, will the court require strict compliance with its provisions before recognising a foreign judgment?

To date, Jordan is not a signatory to the Hague Convention on Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments 1971, nor to the recently concluded Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters (not yet in force).

However, Jordan has signed and entered into force (in 2001) the Statute of the Hague Conference on Private International Law and its amendments, which, under article 1, states as its main purpose ‘to work for the progressive unification of the rules of private international law’.

Bringing a claim for enforcement

Limitation periods

What is the limitation period for enforcement of a foreign judgment? When does it commence to run? In what circumstances would the enforcing court consider the statute of limitations of the foreign jurisdiction?

In cases where a bilateral or multilateral treaty has been concluded between Jordan and the state where the foreign judgment was issued, the said judgment shall have the power of a writ of execution in Jordan, and pursuant to article 8 of the Jordanian Enforcement Law, the limitation period for such enforcement shall be 15 years, commencing from the date of the last procedure taken in that regard.

In those cases whereby the foreign judgment cannot be enforced in Jordan unless the conditions stipulated in the Law (see question 11) are applied, then:

  • if the foreign judgment is a foreign arbitral award, the Law sets out the definition of an enforceable foreign judgment as ‘such awards should be deemed enforceable as a court decision under the laws of the country in which it was issued’. This means that in order to enforce a foreign arbitral award in Jordan, the award should be deemed enforceable as a court decision under the laws of the country where the award was issued. Consequently, the limitation period for the arbitral award in the country where the award was issued should not be exhausted (ie, it should still be running);
  • in cases where the foreign court judgment is enforceable under Jordanian law, there is no specific limitation period applicable to the recognition and enforcement of a foreign judgment. However, the Riyadh Agreement, which was approved by the Jordanian parliament and is applicable only to its parties, states in article 31 as a condition that a judgment shall be considered enforceable in the enforcing country if it is enforceable in the country that issued the foreign judgment. Consequently, the limitation period for the foreign judgment in the country where the judgment was issued should not be exhausted. Therefore, this condition is a requirement for enforcing a foreign judgment in Jordan with the countries that are signatories to the Riyadh Agreement; and
  • irrespective of whether a specific provision in the law exists or not regarding the limitation period, and even if the limitation period still runs, pursuant to article 7 of the Law (see question 11), the court shall reject the enforcement of the foreign judgment if it contradicts either Jordanian public order or public morality.
Types of enforceable order

Which remedies ordered by a foreign court are enforceable in your jurisdiction?

Article 2 of the Law defines an enforceable foreign judgment in Jordan as a judgment issued by a foreign court, including religious courts, relating to civil proceedings and ruling the payment of any amount of money, a judgment on a movable asset or the liquidation of an account, and also includes awards issued by an arbitrator regarding arbitral proceedings.

Article 25 of the Riyadh Agreement excludes from judgments that can be enforced any temporary and discretionary legal actions, and judgments regarding bankruptcy cases, taxes and fees. These exclusions apply to judgments from states that are signatories to the Riyadh Agreement.

Competent courts

Must cases seeking enforcement of foreign judgments be brought in a particular court?

The competent court in Jordan for the recognition of a foreign judgment pursuant to articles 3 and 4 of the Law is the court of first instance, located at the place where the defendant resides. If he or she does not reside in Jordan, the competent court will be the one located in the jurisdiction where the assets of the defendant are located.

However, the competent court for the enforcement of a foreign judgment is either the court in the jurisdiction where the Jordanian court issued the judgment or the court of the jurisdiction where the defendant resides, or the court of the jurisdiction where the claimant resides, or the court in the jurisdiction where the deed of enforceability was issued.

Separation of recognition and enforcement

To what extent is the process for obtaining judicial recognition of a foreign judgment separate from the process for enforcement?

The general rule is as stipulated under the Law, whereby a foreign judgment shall be enforced in Jordan by applying the procedures stated in the said Law in order to rule the foreign judgment admissible at the domestic court (the court of first instance). Practically speaking and based on general ongoing practices, this is the rule that is applied in Jordan. However, there are certain provisions in several of the multilateral and bilateral treaties to which Jordan is a signatory - such as the judicial cooperation agreement between Jordan and Syria of 1953 - whereby it can be understood that the foreign judgment of one state will have the power of a writ of execution in the other state, without the need to apply the conditions of the Law. Nevertheless, parties rarely submit a demand to directly enforce the foreign judgment on an ‘as is’ basis without first filing a case at the competent Jordanian court.

Opposition

Defences

Can a defendant raise merits-based defences to liability or to the scope of the award entered in the foreign jurisdiction, or is the defendant limited to more narrow grounds for challenging a foreign judgment?

Within the ambit of the Law, the judge’s authority over the foreign judgment is solely to examine whether the conditions set out in the said Law have been satisfied, and not to review the foreign judgment on its merits (see question 11). In the event that one or more of these conditions have not been fulfilled, the judgment will not be enforceable in Jordan. Consequently, if any of those conditions have not been fulfilled, the defendant will have the right to raise merits-based defences.

Injunctive relief

May a party obtain injunctive relief to prevent foreign judgment enforcement proceedings in your jurisdiction?

Article 7 of the Law states that there are certain conditions that should be satisfied, and if they are not, then the foreign judgment will not be recognised. For example, if the foreign judgment was obtained by fraud, in accordance with the said article, the court may reject the enforcement of a foreign judgment.

Requirements for recognition

Basic requirements for recognition

What are the basic mandatory requirements for recognition of a foreign judgment?

Further to question 8, in the presence of a bilateral agreement between Jordan and the state where the foreign judgment or arbitral award was issued, the requirements for recognising the foreign judgment or award would be in accordance with the terms of the said bilateral agreement.

In the absence of a bilateral agreement, the basic mandatory requirements as stated in the Law should be satisfied. Those requirements are as follows:

  • article 2 states that the subject of the foreign judgment or arbitral award has to rule that the defendant (the losing party) is subject to one of the following:
    • payment of a sum of money;
    • giving judgment in respect of movable property; or
    • settlement of an account;
  • the competent court is the court of first instance at the place where the defendant resides; if he or she does not reside in Jordan, the competent court will be the one in the jurisdiction where the assets of the defendant are located; and
  • if the parties wish to enforce an arbitral award in Jordan, article 2 provides that the award has to be enforceable under the laws of the country that has issued the award.

Article 7 sets out seven cases where the Jordanian competent court can reject the request to enforce the foreign judgment or arbitral award:

  • if the court or tribunal that issued the foreign judgment or arbitral award lacked proper jurisdiction;
  • if the defendant did not carry out his or her business within the jurisdiction of the court or tribunal that issued the foreign judgment or arbitral award, or if he or she was not residing within its jurisdiction and did not voluntarily appear before it and did not submit to its jurisdiction (ie, the defendant did not accept the jurisdiction of the tribunal or court or he or she did not work or reside in an area over which the tribunal or court has a jurisdiction);
  • if the defendant was not served with a notice to attend by the tribunal or court that issued the foreign judgment or arbitral award and he or she did not appear before the court although he or she was residing or carrying out his or her business within its jurisdiction (ie, regular proceedings were not followed that allowed the losing party a chance to be heard);
  • if the foreign judgment or arbitral award was obtained by fraud;
  • if the foreign judgment or arbitral award is not final (ie, it is subject to further appeal) between the parties;
  • if the basis of the foreign judgment or arbitral award was based on a subject matter that cannot be heard in the Jordanian courts because it contravenes Jordanian public order or public morality; or
  • if the foreign judgment or arbitral award was issued by a court that does not allow the enforcement of judgments issued by Jordanian courts.

There are some other requirements set out in the bilateral and multilateral treaties ratified by the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, such as, but not limited to, the Riyadh Agreement, which in article 30 states that ‘the enforcing court can reject the request to enforce the foreign judgment if the foreign judgment was against Shari’a [ie, religious] Law or the constitution, and if the judgment was given in default of appearance and the defendant did not enter an appearance because he or she was not notified of the case or the judgment in such a way that would enable him or her to arrange for his or her defence’.

Other factors

May other non-mandatory factors for recognition of a foreign judgment be considered and, if so, what factors?

The factors that are stated in the bilateral and multilateral agreements between Jordan and other states include reciprocity.

Procedural equivalence

Is there a requirement that the judicial proceedings where the judgment was entered correspond to due process in your jurisdiction and, if so, how is that requirement evaluated?

In the presence of a bilateral or multilateral agreement between Jordan and the state that issued the foreign judgment, whereby in the said bilateral agreement procedural equivalence is stated as a requirement for enforcement, the judicial proceedings where the foreign judgment was entered must correspond to due process in Jordan (see question 11). If the bilateral or multilateral agreement does not refer to that condition, the foreign judgment is enforceable in Jordan even if there was no procedural equivalence.

In the absence of a bilateral or multilateral agreement between Jordan and the state that issued the foreign judgment, the Jordanian court may not rule the request to enforce the foreign judgment as admissible if there was no procedural equivalence in accordance with the basic mandatory requirements mentioned above.

In addition, the Jordanian court may reject the request to enforce the foreign judgment in cases where the foreign judgment was issued by a court that does not allow the enforcement of judgments issued by Jordanian courts.

With regard to how the procedural requirement is evaluated, it is at the discretion of the Jordanian court to decide whether a procedural equivalence does or does not exist, based on the defences presented by the parties to the case.

Jurisdiction of the foreign court

Personal jurisdiction

Will the enforcing court examine whether the court where the judgment was entered had personal jurisdiction over the defendant and, if so, how is that requirement met?

Pursuant to article 7 of the Law, the enforcing court shall decide whether the court that issued the foreign judgment had personal jurisdiction over the defendant.

Subject-matter jurisdiction

Will the enforcing court examine whether the court where the judgment was entered had subject-matter jurisdiction over the controversy and, if so, how is that requirement met?

Yes; see question 14.

Service

Must the defendant have been technically or formally served with notice of the original action in the foreign jurisdiction, or is actual notice sufficient? How much notice is usually considered sufficient?

In cases where the Law applies (see question 11), the defendant must have been properly served with a notice as per the applicable method of serving a notice in the law of the country that issued the foreign judgment. Therefore, any form of notice is acceptable by the Jordanian court for the purpose of enforcing the foreign judgment, on the condition that the method prescribed under the law of the country of origin was followed and that the defendant had a chance to be heard and he or she attended the court case or arbitration proceedings.

Fairness of foreign jurisdiction

Will the court consider the relative inconvenience of the foreign jurisdiction to the defendant as a basis for declining to enforce a foreign judgment?

In cases where the Law applies, the foreign judgment should correspond to the conditions of article 7 mentioned in question 11. Therefore, if any of those conditions were not properly met and such incompatibility with the Law affected the foreign jurisdiction of the court or tribunal, and the defendant presented his or her defence based on this inconvenience (whether it was relative or not), and the court was convinced, then the court will consider the relative inconvenience of the foreign jurisdiction to the defendant as a basis for declining to enforce a foreign judgment or arbitral award.

Examination of the foreign judgment

Vitiation by fraud

Will the court examine the foreign judgment for allegations of fraud upon the defendant or the court?

According to article 7 of the Law and most of the treaties regarding the enforcement of foreign judgments to which Jordan is a signatory, the court will examine allegations of fraud.

Public policy

Will the court examine the foreign judgment for consistency with the enforcing jurisdiction’s public policy and substantive laws?

Yes, since, pursuant to article 7 of the Law, the court may not rule the application for the enforcement of a foreign judgment admissible if the judgment derives from a lawsuit that cannot be heard by the Jordanian courts on the grounds of public order or public morality.

Conflicting decisions

What will the court do if the foreign judgment sought to be enforced is in conflict with another final and conclusive judgment involving the same parties or parties in privity?

Pursuant to several treaties signed and ratified by the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan concerning the enforcement of foreign judgments, the court shall not recognise or enforce a foreign judgment if the subject matter of said foreign judgment has the same parties or parties in privity of an ongoing court case either in Jordan (the state where the foreign judgment will be enforced) or in the country of origin of the judgment, provided that such a case was filed prior to the date of the request to enforce the judgment. However, regarding a third party or third state in multilateral agreements, article 30 of the Riyadh Agreement includes the above condition and furthermore extends the same requirement to those cases where the court case was filed in a third country (not the country of origin of the judgment nor the enforcing country).

Article 30 of the Riyadh Agreement includes an exception to this general rule regarding the authority of the enforcing country in such cases, as the enforcing country may order provisional or protective action regardless of ongoing proceedings elsewhere.

Enforcement against third parties

Will a court apply the principles of agency or alter ego to enforce a judgment against a party other than the named judgment debtor?

One of the procedures of enforcing a judgment in Jordan pursuant to article 31 of the Enforcement Law is that the creditor may place a seizure over the debtor’s movable assets, money or debts with third parties, even if they are delayed or suspended on condition. Accordingly, the Enforcing Department in Jordan has the authority to enforce the judgment against a party other than the named debtor.

The term ‘alter ego’ is not defined per se in Jordanian legislation. However, it may be possible that a foreign judgment against a parent company can be enforced against the affiliate or affiliates of the company and vice versa, provided that the affiliate company has a unified financial account with the parent company (ie, if the affiliate does not have a separate financial and administrative personality from the parent company). Therefore, judgments against one may be enforced against the other and vice versa.

Alternative dispute resolution

What will the court do if the parties had an enforceable agreement to use alternative dispute resolution, and the defendant argues that this requirement was not followed by the party seeking to enforce?

If the parties do not accept the jurisdiction of the court over the dispute owing to the fact that there was an enforceable agreement to use alternative dispute resolution, it will be considered that the court that issued the foreign judgment was not functionally the competent court. As per article 7 of the Law, this is a reason for the Jordanian court to rule the case of the enforcement of the foreign judgment inadmissible.

Favourably treated jurisdictions

Are judgments from some foreign jurisdictions given greater deference than judgments from others? If so, why?

Broadly speaking, all foreign judgments are enforceable in Jordan in the same legal way. However, if there is a bilateral treaty between Jordan and a country that gives the foreign judgment of this country the power of a writ of execution, such as Jordan’s treaty with Syria, then in such cases the judgment of this country will be given greater deference than a judgment issued in a country with which Jordan has not concluded a bilateral treaty. Furthermore, as per article 7 detailed in question 11, foreign judgments of countries that allow the enforcement of judgments issued by Jordanian courts will be given greater deference than judgments issued by a court that does not allow the enforcement of judgments issued by Jordanian courts.

Alteration of awards

Will a court ever recognise only part of a judgment, or alter or limit the damage award?

The function of the court according to the Law is only to examine whether the judgment is enforceable in Jordan or not. However, article 32 of the Riyadh Agreement, which is applicable only to its parties, states that the claimant can claim against the defendant with only part of the foreign judgment (meaning the foreign judgment will not be enforced in whole) on the condition that the judgment is such that it can be severed.

Awards and security for appeals

Currency, interest, costs

In recognising a foreign judgment, does the court convert the damage award to local currency and take into account such factors as interest and court costs and exchange controls? If interest claims are allowed, which law governs the rate of interest?

Local currency

In cases where the foreign judgment cannot be enforced in Jordan unless a lawsuit for its enforcement is filed with the competent court, the Law states that the Jordanian Code of Civil Procedures will apply on matters not governed by the Law. Article 49 of the Jordanian Code of Civil Procedures states that any claimed amounts before a Jordanian court must be evaluated in Jordanian dinar; accordingly, the damage award will be converted to the local currency. In such cases, if the foreign judgment includes a judgment of interest that is higher than the interest rate of 9 per cent stated in article 4/167 of the Jordanian Code of Civil Procedures, then the foreign judgment will be considered as a judgment against public policy and the judge may reject the court case; however, if the interest rate is 9 per cent or lower, then the judgment is enforceable.

If an agreement is concluded between Jordan and the state in which the judgment was rendered, the foreign judgment shall have the power of writ of execution. The Enforcement Law states that the Jordanian Code of Civil Procedures applies on any matter that is not governed by the Enforcement Law; consequently, the above-mentioned rules regarding currency and interest are applicable.

Claiming interest

An interest claim is considered a claim in the subject of the foreign judgment, and the Jordanian judge does not have authority over the subject matter of the foreign judgment. Rather, the judge has the authority to examine whether the foreign judgment or award is enforceable or not in Jordan.

Security

Is there a right to appeal from a judgment recognising or enforcing a foreign judgment? If so, what procedures, if any, are available to ensure the judgment will be enforceable against the defendant if and when it is affirmed?

The Law does not specify whether the judgment of enforcing the foreign judgment is final or not.

Consequently, and since the Jordanian Code of Civil Procedures is applicable, appeals are accordingly an available remedy, and, pursuant to article 176 of said code, the Court of Appeal is the competent domestic court for appealing the judgment of the court of first instance. In order to ensure that the judgment is enforceable against the defendant in the event of an appeal, there are certain procedures that can be followed at the stage of pursuing the execution of the judgment at the Enforcement Department, such as, but not limited to, applying for seizure or imprisonment of the debtor based on strict legal adherence.

Enforcement and pitfalls

Enforcement process

Once a foreign judgment is recognised, what is the process for enforcing it in your jurisdiction?

The enforcement of a foreign judgment, whether it has the power of a writ of execution or whether a Jordanian court decision is issued to enforce it, will be in accordance with the provisions of the Enforcement Law.

If the foreign judgment has the power of a writ of execution, then it shall be final pursuant to the law of the country where it was issued in order to enforce it.

However, the judgment of the Jordanian court to enforce a foreign judgment will be considered final if it was appealed (the methods of appeal were observed) or if the parties missed the timeframes specified by law to lodge an appeal.

In general, the process for enforcing a foreign judgment in Jordan presents no significant peculiarities, although the following should be observed in that regard:

  • a demand by the claimant should be submitted to the competent Enforcement Department;
  • a notification for enforcement shall be sent to the defendant;
  • enforcement can be effected in different ways, such as execution in kind or monetary execution (usually by instalments); and
  • the manner of enforcement selected depends on the type of the assets in hand (whether they are movable or immovable).
Pitfalls

What are the most common pitfalls in seeking recognition or enforcement of a foreign judgment in your jurisdiction?

A pitfall regarding the stage of seeking recognition of a foreign judgment through the courts by filing a court case can be that while the judge is examining the fulfilment of the conditions of article 7 of the Law detailed in question 11, it is found that not all of the conditions are met, in which case this may lead to the foreign judgment not being deemed enforceable.

A pitfall regarding the stage of enforcement of the judgment, whereby the Enforcement Law is applicable, can be that it is found that the judgment involves certain types of assets as per article 27 of the said law, such as public assets, assets of foreign embassies or any money under immunity, which cannot be subjected to enforcement.

Update and trends

Hot topics

Are there any emerging trends or hot topics in foreign judgment enforcement in your jurisdiction?

Hot topics29 Are there any emerging trends or hot topics in foreign judgment enforcement in your jurisdiction?

A hot topic in foreign judgment enforcement is that there are certain provisions in some bilateral or multilateral treaties, such as the Judicial cooperation agreement between Jordan and Syria, which give the foreign judgment of one state the power of a writ of execution in the other state without the need to apply the conditions of the Jordanian Enforcement Law. However, it is rare for a party to submit a demand to enforce the foreign judgment immediately on an ‘as is’ basis without first filing a court case.

Another hot topic is the partial enforcement of a foreign judgment that rules on payment of sums owed, since the Jordanian judge only has the authority to decide whether the judgment is enforceable or not, and not to look into any defence raised over whether part of the debt has already been paid. In such cases, the judge may either decide to enforce the foreign judgment as is, which means the debt may be paid twice, or the judge may decide not to enforce it, which will cause damage or loss to the claimant. However, under article 32 of the Riyadh Agreement, it is possible to ask for partial enforcement of the foreign judgment if the judgment is such that a severable part of it can be enforced.

At present, and to the best of our knowledge, there are no publicised proposals to reform the framework on the enforcement of foreign judgments in Jordan. However, an emerging trend can be noted as a result of the recent updates on debtor notification, which in the past was carried out through diplomatic channels (which was time- and money-consuming owing to the lengthy diplomatic procedures that had to be followed by the court in order to notify the debtor). The trend in Jordan now is to use private courier companies to deliver notices to debtors. This follows as a result of a recent amendment to the Jordanian Code of Civil Procedures regarding new methods of debtor notification, which enhances judicial procedures and renders them more flexible.