Comparative Guides

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4. Results: Answers
Enforcement of Foreign Judgments
On what grounds can the defendant challenge recognition and enforcement of a foreign judgment?
  • The judgment is not a judgment to which Part A of the Foreign Judgments (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act applies (eg, the time limit of six years upon order of the minister of justice) or the judgment was recognised in contravention of the act.
  • The original foreign court had no jurisdiction in the circumstances of the case.
  • The judgment debtor, being the defendant in the proceedings in the original court, did not (notwithstanding that process may have been duly served on it in accordance with the law of the country of the original court) receive notice of those proceedings in sufficient time to enable it to defend the proceedings and did not appear.
  • The judgment was obtained by fraud.
  • Enforcement of the judgment would be contrary to public policy in Nigeria.
  • The rights under the judgment are not vested in the person that made the application for recognition.
  • At the time the judgment in the original court was issued, the dispute had already been the subject of a final and conclusive judgment handed down by a court with jurisdiction.
  • Further, irrespective of the country in which it was made, an arbitral award shall be binding and enforceable by the Nigerian courts upon application by a party thereto. Any of the parties to the arbitration agreement can apply to the court to refuse enforcement of that award, further to Sections 51 and 52 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, as Nigeria is a party to the New York Convention on Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards.

    For more information about this answer please contact: Chinedu Anaje from AO2 Law
    What is the limitation period for filing a challenge?

    Answer ... Under the Foreign Judgment (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act, an application seeking to challenge an order of recognition is subject to the Rules of Court. The Rules of Court provide that an application to set aside a ruling of court must be made within 14 days of such ruling.

    For more information about this answer please contact: Chinedu Anaje from AO2 Law
    Can the defendant seek injunctive relief to prevent enforcement while a challenge is pending?

    Answer ... Yes, Section 4(2) of the Foreign Judgment (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act provides that execution shall not issue on the judgment so long as, under the act and the Rules of Court made thereunder, it is competent for any party to make an application to have recognition of the judgment set aside or, where such application has been made, until after the application has been finally determined.

    For more information about this answer please contact: Chinedu Anaje from AO2 Law
    Enforcement of Foreign Judgments