Elgar Asian Commercial Law and Practice series
Chapter 6: RECOGNITION AND ENFORCEMENT OF FOREIGN JUDGMENTS IN CHINESE COURTS
Recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments is usually the final stage in international commercial litigation. After the court asserts jurisdiction, decides the applicable law and applies that law to make the decision, the judgment will only have practical value if it can prevent future actions from being brought in the same matter and can be enforced. At the international level the res judicata effect and the enforceability of foreign judgments often present difficulties. The effect of any government’s acts, including judicial ones, is limited to the territory of the sovereign. Therefore, the judgment of a court normally has no effect outside the territory of its jurisdiction. A judgment has an effect in another country only if the authority of the latter agrees to recognize and enforce it. This chapter focuses on Chinese law and practice on recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments. ‘Recognition’ and ‘enforcement’ are interrelated but different. Briefly speaking, ‘recognition’ involves a decision not to permit litigation of a specific issue or factual dispute that was previously decided in another court. It grants the foreign judgment the same res judicata effect that it has in its country of origin. ‘Enforcement’ involves the jurisdiction’s exercise of its judicial powers to compel compliance with a judgment rendered in another jurisdiction. ‘Recognition’ is the prerequisite for ‘enforcement’. A foreign judgment must be recognized before it can be enforced.
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