It is now easier to enforce an Arizona judgment in Alberta and
vice versa. On April 1, 2015, Governor Douglas Ducey of
Arizona signed into law Senate Bill 1447 – foreign country
money judgments; enforcement ("Arizona Statute").
This law authorizes the enforcement in Arizona of judgments from
foreign jurisdictions with reciprocal laws recognizing Arizona
judgements. The province of Alberta will be a reciprocating
jurisdiction for the purposes of the Arizona Statute as soon as the
Lieutenant Governor of Alberta (the Provincial Cabinet) issues an
order designating Arizona to be a "reciprocating
jurisdiction." See section 8 of the Reciprocal
Enforcement of Judgments Act ("Alberta
Once the Province of Alberta has declared Arizona to be a
reciprocating jurisdiction under the Alberta Statute, section
12-3252 of the Arizona Statute will automatically apply to Alberta
Under the Arizona and Alberta Statutes, a judgment against a
person in Alberta can now be enforced against that person in
Arizona, and a judgment against a person in Arizona can now be
enforced against that person in Alberta. To qualify for enforcement
in either jurisdiction, a judgment must be final and must grant or
deny the recovery of a sum of money. If the judgment qualifies and
is recognized by the Courts, it is enforceable in the same manner
and to the same extent as a judgment rendered in the reciprocating
The Arizona legislative briefing notes on the new law conclude
that the Arizona Statute "would ultimately lead to better and
more financing for business growth opportunities between Arizona
lenders and Canadian businesses and consumers in our
The initiative to enact the Arizona Statute was sparked during a
visit to Calgary last year by the Mayor of Phoenix. Calgary and
Phoenix are sister cities and it became clear to the Arizona
thought leaders visiting Alberta that red tape reduction (judicial
or regulatory) is in the interest of both Alberta and Arizona
Miller Thomson played a role in developing the reciprocal
legislation to facilitate enforcement for judgment creditors in
Alberta and Arizona and as such is well positioned to assist with
the legal issues surrounding reciprocal enforcement of foreign
The Arizona and Alberta Statutes will be of most use to
businesses and individuals possessing money judgments against
defendants holding assets in the reciprocating jurisdiction.
Both tort and contract judgments are covered. However,
domestic relations judgments are expressly excluded by both the
Arizona and Alberta Statutes.
Some of the most common judgements that will benefit from the
reciprocal Statutes include those involving:
Residential or commercial mortgages and other loan
Employment, agency or partnership agreements;
Real estate or commodity purchase and sale or lease
As a creditor considers enforcement of a debt in either
jurisdiction, there are two important considerations that must be
The limitation period under which action must be taken in the
reciprocating jurisdiction (often two years or less);
The existence of other statutory or common law means of
enforcement that should be commenced on a timely basis to preserve
a creditor's rights.
Finally, it is essential that any business involved in cross
border transactions ensure that the contracts relied upon include
the following provisions to assist with enforcement:
Submission to the jurisdiction of the reciprocating
Acknowledgment that the parties are doing business in the
reciprocating jurisdictions throughout the term of the
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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