Answer ... The Reciprocal Enforcement of Foreign Judgments (Amendment) Bill and the Reciprocal Enforcement of Commonwealth Judgments (Repeal) Bill were passed on 2 September 2019, to streamline the process of recognising/enforcing foreign judgments by consolidating the Reciprocal Enforcement of Commonwealth Judgments Act (RECJA) and the Reciprocal Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act (REFJA)
In short, the bills will effectively repeal the RECJA and amend the REFJA, such that the REFJA will:
- encompass the recognition and enforcement of all foreign judgments in civil cases; and
- recognise a wider range of legal judgments on a reciprocal basis (including non-money judgments, interlocutory orders and judgments from the lower courts);
However, the following should be noted:
- These changes are not yet effective, as the minister has not stipulated the date on which they will take effect (as at the time of writing);
- The bills do not cover judgments or decisions in criminal cases; and
- The bills do not affect judgments that are sought to be recognised and enforced under the Choice of Courts Agreement Act or common law actions.
It is also possible that the government may enter into new treaties with other countries. This will enhance the recognition and enforcement of Singapore judgments overseas and vice versa, given that the regime works on a reciprocal basis. This is likely to benefit judgment creditors, given the increasingly transnational nature of legal proceedings and location of assets.