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Results: 4 Answers
Enforcement of Foreign Judgments
2.
Requirements for enforceability
2.1
What types of judgments may be recognised and enforced in your jurisdiction? Are any types of judgments specifically precluded from enforcement?
 
UK
Non-monetary judgments are capable of recognition and enforcement only if they fall within the EU/European Free Trade Agreement (EFTA) rules or the Hague Convention.

Monetary judgments which are final and conclusive are generally capable of recognition and enforcement in England regardless of the jurisdiction in which they are obtained. However, there are specific carve-outs for certain monetary judgments:

  • Judgments in respect of taxes, fines and penalties cannot be recognised and enforced under the Administration of Justice Act 1920, the Foreign Judgments (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act 1933 or the common law rules. Section 1(2) of the 1933 act expressly excludes such judgments from its scope. There is no express exclusion in the 1920 act, but recognition and enforcement of a foreign judgment under that act is a matter of the courts’ discretion “if in all the circumstances of the case they think it just and convenient” (Section 9(1) of the 1920 act). It is generally accepted that the court will exercise its discretion not to allow the enforcement of judgments in respect of taxes, fines and penalties.
  • Similarly, judgments for multiple damages (ie, damages calculated by doubling, trebling or otherwise multiplying a sum assessed as compensation) cannot be recognised and enforced under the 1920 act, the 1933 act or the common law rules (Section 5 of the Protection of Trading Interest Act 1980).
  • The Hague Convention allows for recognition and enforcement of a judgment to be refused if and to the extent that it awards exemplary or punitive damages that do not compensate a party for actual loss or harm suffered (Article 11(1) of the Hague Convention).

Default judgments are capable of recognition and enforcement if the relevant requirements as to service of the proceedings on the judgment debtor and the jurisdiction of the foreign court are met (see question 5).

Final injunctions are capable of recognition and enforcement only if they fall within the EU/EFTA rules or the Hague Convention.

Interim orders are capable of recognition and enforcement only if they fall within the EU/EFTA rules and even then subject to certain conditions.

For more information about this answer please contact: Anna Pertoldi from Herbert Smith Freehills
2.2
Must a foreign judgment be final and binding before it can be enforced?
 
UK
Yes. Generally, a foreign judgment must be final and binding before it can be enforced in England. As noted. however, interim orders are capable of recognition and enforcement if they fall within the EU/EFTA rules, subject to certain conditions.

For more information about this answer please contact: Anna Pertoldi from Herbert Smith Freehills
2.3
Is a foreign judgment enforceable if it is subject to appeal in the foreign jurisdiction?
 
UK
The English courts generally have at least a discretion not to allow a foreign judgment to be recognised and enforced in England if it is subject to appeal in the jurisdiction in which it was obtained. The exact formulation of this principle varies depending on the particular rules that apply.

Under the common law rules, the fact that an appeal is pending in the foreign jurisdiction is not necessarily a bar to an action to enforce the foreign judgment in England. However, the English court may stay the proceedings to enforce the judgment in England if an appeal is pending in the foreign jurisdiction (eg, see Scott v Pilkington (1862) 121 ER 978).

Judgments obtained in 1920 act countries cannot be recognised and enforced in England if the judgment debtor satisfies the court either that an appeal is pending or that it is entitled to and intends to appeal (Section 9(2)(e) of the 1920 act). A similar test applies to judgments obtained in 1933 act countries - the difference being that under the 1933 act, it is a matter for the court’s discretion whether to set aside or adjourn the application for registration of the foreign judgment if it is subject to appeal (Section 5(1) of the 1933 act).

Under the Recast Brussels Regulation, the English court may suspend proceedings in which the foreign judgment is being invoked if the judgment has been challenged in the jurisdiction in which it was obtained (Article 38 of the Brussels Regulation). Where an application has been made by the debtor for refusal of enforcement, the English court may stay the proceedings if an appeal has been lodged in the country where the judgment was obtained or if the time for such an appeal has not yet expired. In the latter case, it may specify the time within which the appeal is to be lodged (Article 51 of the Recast Brussels Regulation). The English court must also suspend enforcement of the judgment in England if enforcement has been suspended in the jurisdiction in which the judgment was obtained (which may or may not be the case) (Article 44 of the Recast Brussels Regulation).

Under the other EU/EFTA rules, the English court may suspend proceedings in which the foreign judgment is being invoked if an appeal against the judgment has been lodged in the jurisdiction in which it was obtained (Article 37(1) of the 2001 Brussels Regulation, Article 37(1) of the Lugano Convention and Article 30 of the Brussels Convention). Before the judgment can be enforced in England, the creditor will need to make an application for registration of the judgment. If the debtor appeals against the registration of the judgment, the English court can stay the enforcement proceedings if an appeal has been lodged against the judgment in the country of origin or if the time for such an appeal has not yet expired. In the latter case, the court may specify the time within which an appeal is to be lodged (Article 46(1) of the 2001 Brussels Regulation, Article 46(1) of the Lugano Convention and Article 38(1) of the Brussels Convention).

Under the Hague Convention, the English court may postpone or refuse recognition and enforcement of the foreign judgment if it is subject to review in the jurisdiction in which it was obtained or if the time limit for seeking ordinary review has not expired (Article 8(4) of the Hague Convention). The English court can allow enforcement of the foreign judgment only if it is enforceable in the jurisdiction in which it was obtained (Article 8(3) of the Hague Convention).

For more information about this answer please contact: Anna Pertoldi from Herbert Smith Freehills
2.4
What is the limitation period for making an application for recognition and enforcement?
 
UK
There are different limitation periods depending on which rules apply.

The 1920 act has the shortest limitation period: an application for registration must be made within 12 months of the date of the judgment (although the court has discretion to allow a longer period) (Section 9(1) of the 1920 act). However, if the creditor is unsuccessful in seeking registration under the 1920 act or is unable to seek registration, it can still seek to enforce under the common law rules where there is a longer limitation period, subject to possible adverse costs consequences.

For judgments obtained in 1933 act countries, an application for registration must be made within six years of the date of the judgment (Section 2(1) of the 1933 act).

An action to enforce a foreign judgment under the common law rules must be commenced within six years of the date on which the foreign judgment became enforceable (Section 24(1) of the Limitation Act 1980).

Judgments falling within the EU/EFTA rules and the Hague Convention are not subject to a set limitation period, but they must still be enforceable in the jurisdiction in which they were obtained in order to be recognised and enforceable in England (Article 39 of the Recast Brussels Regulation and Article 8(3) of the Hague Convention).

For more information about this answer please contact: Anna Pertoldi from Herbert Smith Freehills