Comparative Guides

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4. Results: Answers
Enforcement of Foreign Judgments
4.
Defences
4.1
On what grounds can the defendant challenge recognition and enforcement of a foreign judgment?
Singapore

Answer ... Reciprocal Enforcement of Commonwealth Judgments Act (RECJA): Registration will be refused if:

  • the foreign court acted without jurisdiction;
  • the foreign judgment was obtained by fraud;
  • the foreign judgment relates to a cause of action which the Singapore court would not recognise for public policy reasons;
  • the judgment debtor had not voluntarily appeared/submitted/agreed to submit to the jurisdiction of the foreign court;
  • the judgment debtor had not been served with process and did not appear; or
  • the judgment debtor shows that:
    • an appeal for the foreign judgment is pending; or
    • it is entitled to and intends to appeal the foreign judgment.

Reciprocal Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act (REFJA): Registration will be set aside if:

  • the foreign court acted without jurisdiction. The foreign court will be deemed not to have jurisdiction if the proceedings were in breach of an agreement to settle the dispute, unless the judgment debtor had submitted to the jurisdiction of that foreign court;
  • the foreign judgment was obtained by fraud;
  • the judgment debtor did not receive notice of the proceedings in the foreign court in sufficient time to enable it to appear to defend those proceedings;
  • enforcement of the foreign judgment would be contrary to the public policy of Singapore; or
  • the rights under the foreign judgment were not vested in the applicant.

Choice of Courts Agreement Act (CCAA): Recognition and enforcement will be refused if:

  • the judgment debtor was not notified of the document by which the foreign proceedings were instituted in sufficient time as to enable it to defend those proceedings;
  • the foreign judgment was obtained by fraud relating to a matter of procedure; or
  • recognition and enforcement would be manifestly incompatible with the public policy of Singapore.

Recognition/enforcement may be refused if:

  • the exclusive choice of court agreement (ECCA) is null and void under the law of the state of the chosen court, unless the chosen court has determined that the agreement is valid;
  • a party to the ECCA lacked capacity (under Singapore law) to enter into that agreement;
  • the judgment debtor was notified of the document by which the foreign proceedings were instituted in a manner incompatible with the fundamental principles of service of documents in Singapore;
  • the foreign judgment is inconsistent with a judgment given by the Singapore courts in a dispute between the same parties;
  • the foreign judgment is inconsistent with an earlier judgment given in another state between the same parties on the same cause of action, and the earlier judgment satisfies the conditions under Singapore law for recognition;
  • the foreign judgment is being reviewed or appealed in the state of origin;
  • the timeframe for applying for a review or appeal in the state of origin has not expired;
  • the ECCA designates a particular court which has discretion to transfer the case to another court in the same state and the transferee court issues a judgment against a party that objected to the transfer in a timely matter; or
  • the foreign judgment awards damages in excess of compensation for the actual loss/harm suffered.

Common law action: Recognition/enforcement may be challenged, by raising the relevant grounds in the defence, if:

  • the foreign judgment was procured by fraud;
  • the foreign judgment was obtained in breach of natural justice;
  • recognition and enforcement of the foreign judgment would be contrary to the public policy of Singapore; or
  • recognition and enforcement of the foreign judgment would amount to enforcement of foreign penal, revenue or other public laws.

For more information about this answer please contact: Joseph Lopez from Joseph Lopez LLP
4.2
What is the limitation period for filing a challenge?
Singapore

Answer ... There is unlikely to be any direct limitation period for filing a challenge itself per se. However, applicants should take note of the limitation periods for filing the application (see question 2.4).

For more information about this answer please contact: Joseph Lopez from Joseph Lopez LLP
4.3
Can the defendant seek injunctive relief to prevent enforcement while a challenge is pending?
Singapore

Answer ... See question 3.7.

For more information about this answer please contact: Joseph Lopez from Joseph Lopez LLP
Contributors
Topic
Enforcement of Foreign Judgments