Enforcing foreign judgments—common law principles
Produced in partnership with Laurence Emmett

The following Dispute Resolution practice note produced in partnership with Laurence Emmett provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Enforcing foreign judgments—common law principles
  • When is the common law used?
  • The position at common law
  • Judgments in rem
  • Judgments in personam
  • Requirement to bring enforcement proceedings in the English courts
  • Limitation period for enforcement
  • Conditions to be met for enforcement of a foreign court judgment
  • Condition—foreign judgment was final and binding/conclusive
  • Practical considerations
  • More...

Enforcing foreign judgments—common law principles

This Practice Note considers the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments applying common law. It explains the requirement for new enforcement proceedings in England and Wales with the foreign judgment as the cause of action. The Practice Note sets out the conditions need to be met and the common defences that may be raised in relation to a claim to recognise and enforce a foreign judgment. The Practice Note also considers the issue of whether security for costs is available and whether the court should grant a stay pending further court hearings in the foreign court.

It is important to check whether a different enforcement regime applies in preference to the common law. For guidance, see: Which regime applies to enforce a foreign judgment?—checklist.

When is the common law used?

When seeking to enforce a foreign court judgment in England and Wales, it is first necessary to identify which regime applies. There are a number of different statutory regimes which apply variously to specified countries. However, where a judgment creditor wants to enforce a judgment from a country not falling within any of the statutory regimes it is necessary to rely on the common law.

Examples of foreign court judgments that need to be enforced by the application of the common law include judgments from China, Hong Kong, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, the

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