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Results: 4 Answers
Enforcement of Foreign Judgments
3.
Recognition and enforcement process
3.1
Is recognition of a foreign judgment a separate process from enforcement and does it have separate legal effects?
 
Nigeria
A judgment is recognised when the court accepts the judicial decision of a foreign court. A foreign judgment must be recognised before it can be enforced. A judgment can be recognised by a court without being enforced by it. For example, a party to a suit instituted in a Nigerian court may ask that the foreign judgment be recognised in order to satisfy the res judicata defence. Recognition of a foreign judgment is a separate process from enforcement.

Once a foreign judgment has been recognised, the judgment creditor may seek to enforce it by commencing garnishee proceedings or any other mode of enforcement.

Section 2 of the Foreign Judgment (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act provides that for the purpose of execution, proceedings may be taken on a recognised judgment and the court which recognised the judgment shall have the same control over execution of the judgment as if it were an original judgment of that court entered on the date of recognition.

Upon recognition of a foreign judgment by order of court on the grant of an application, the judgment creditor can apply to the court for its enforcement by means of any of the judgment enforcement procedures.

For more information about this answer please contact: Chinedu Anaje from AO2 Law
3.2
What is the formal process for recognition and enforcement?
 
Nigeria
  • An originating application must be sent to the High Court of a state or the Federal High Court (usually by way of a motion ex parte or petition, although the court may require that the judgment debtor be put on notice) within 12 months of the date of the judgment (or six months after the date of the judgment where the minister for justice has made a direct order under Part A of the Foreign Judgments (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act), or any last judgment where there have been appeals.
  • The application must be supported by an affidavit which exhibits all relevant proofs, including a certified true copy of the judgment for which recognition is sought.
  • The application must also be supported by a written address setting out the applicable laws and arguments in support of the application.
For more information about this answer please contact: Chinedu Anaje from AO2 Law
3.3
What documents are required in support of an application for recognition and enforcement?
 
Nigeria
The formal procedure for seeking recognition and enforcement of a foreign judgment varies depending on which law is relied on.

Reciprocal Enforcement of Judgments Ordinance: The judgment creditor must apply to a state high court of the Federal High Court to recognise the foreign judgment by a petition, either ex parte or on notice. The court reserves the right to put the judgment debtor on notice of an ex parte petition.

The applicant must support the petition with an affidavit of facts, which should include a certified true copy of the judgment for recognition. The supporting affidavit should state the full name, title, trade or business, and usual or last known place of abode or business of the judgment creditor and judgment debtor, respectively.

If recognition of the foreign judgment is granted, the order to this effect will be served on the judgment debtor. The order will specify a timeframe within which the judgment debtor may apply to set aside the recognition. If the judgment debtor does not apply to set aside the order, the judgment creditor can have the foreign judgment recognised and subsequently take steps to enforce it through any of the judgment enforcement mechanisms.

Foreign Judgment (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act: Section 4(1) of the act permits a judgment creditor to apply to a Nigerian superior court for recognition of a foreign judgment. The act does not specify the procedure for commencement; therefore, the procedural rules of the court before which recognition is sought will apply.

At common law: To have a foreign judgment recognised and enforced, the judgment creditor should institute a case via a writ of summons. The judgment creditor can file a summary judgment application together with the writ or apply for the suit to be placed on the undefended list, as it is for the enforcement of a judgment (and it may thus easily be inferred that the judgment debtor has no defence to the claim).

For more information about this answer please contact: Chinedu Anaje from AO2 Law
3.4
What fees are payable for recognition and enforcement?
 
Nigeria
  • The filing fees for the application for recognition.
  • The filing fees for any relevant court process that must be filed further to a court directive in respect of recognition.
  • The cost of service of the application on the judgment debtor, where the court directs that the judgment debtor be put on notice.
  • The cost of obtaining a certified true copy of the order of recognition, upon grant of such order.
For more information about this answer please contact: Chinedu Anaje from AO2 Law
3.5
Is the applicant required to provide security for costs?
 
Nigeria
This is at the judge’s discretion. The judge may direct that security for costs be provided, in which case the cost and extent of same are likewise at the discretion of the judge.

For more information about this answer please contact: Chinedu Anaje from AO2 Law
3.6
How long does it usually take to obtain a declaration of enforceability?
 
Nigeria
Usually three months from the date of application. However, this is subject to court sittings and any directives made by the court.

For more information about this answer please contact: Chinedu Anaje from AO2 Law
3.7
Can the applicant seek injunctive relief while the process is ongoing?
 
Nigeria
Yes, an applicant can seek injunctive relief while the process is ongoing, as the court has the discretionary power to grant interim relief for the purpose of preserving the res (subject matter) in respect of any case pending before it, upon application by a party.

For more information about this answer please contact: Chinedu Anaje from AO2 Law