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Enforcement and Recognition of Foreign Judgments in Jersey – A Brief Guide
Royal Court Procedure | Dispute Resolution & Litigation
Overseas judgments, which include United Kingdom judgments, have no direct operation in Jersey and cannot, as of right, be enforced simply by execution.
Judgments obtained outside Jersey have to be enforced by statutory registration or at common law.
A foreign judgment of the courts of “reciprocating countries” may be enforceable in Jersey under the Judgments (Reciprocal Enforcement) (Jersey) Law 1960, as amended (the “1960 Law”) by a process of registration.
Reciprocal Countries and Courts
The reciprocating countries and courts for the purposes of the 1960 Law are as follows:-
||Royal Court, Court of Appeal
|Isle of Man
||High Court of Justice (including the Staff of Government Division)
|England and Wales
||House of Lords, Court Of Appeal, High Court of Justice
||Court of Session, Sheriff Court
||Supreme Court of Judicature
Registration and procedure of Foreign Judgments in Jersey
A person, being a creditor under a judgment of a reciprocating country, may apply to the Royal Court of Jersey:-
- at any time within six years after the date of the judgment; or
- where there have been proceedings by way of appeal against the judgment, after the date of the last judgment given in those proceedings, to have the judgment registered in the Royal Court.
A judgment cannot be registered if at the date of the application:-
- it has been wholly satisfied; or
- it could not be enforced by execution in the country of the original court.
The registration of foreign judgments in Jersey does not include:-
- matrimonial proceedings;
- administration of the estates of deceased persons;
- winding up of companies;
- lunacy or guardianship of infants;
- sums payable in respect of taxes, or other charges of a like nature, or in respect of a fine or other penalty.
The 1960 Law applies to foreign judgments in Jersey of reciprocating countries that:-
- are final and conclusive (although a judgment shall be deemed to be final and conclusive notwithstanding that an appeal may be pending against it, or that it may still be subject to appeal); and
- the judgment must be in respect of a sum of money.
A registered judgment of a reciprocating country shall have the same force and effect, and proceedings to enforce may be taken as if the foreign judgment in Jersey had been a judgment originally given in the Royal Court of Jersey and entered on the date of registration.
A judgment debtor against whom a registered judgment may be enforced may apply to the Royal Court to set aside the registration of the foreign judgment. The grounds are as follows:-
- that the judgment is not a judgment to which the 1960 Law applies;
- that the judgment was registered in contravention of the provisions of the 1960 Law;
- that the courts of the country of the original court had no jurisdiction in the circumstances of the case;
- that the judgment debtor, being the defendant in the proceedings in the original court, did not (notwithstanding that process may have been duly served on the judgment debtor in accordance with the law of the country of the original court) receive notice of those proceedings in sufficient time to enable the judgment debtor to defend the proceedings and did not appear;
- that the judgment was obtained by fraud;
- that the enforcement of the judgment would be contrary to public policy in Jersey; or
- that the rights under the judgment are not vested in the person by whom the application for registration was made.
Foreign Court’s jurisdiction
The courts of the country of the original court shall be deemed to have had jurisdiction only in the case of a judgment given:-
- if the debtor, being a defendant in the original court, submitted to the jurisdiction of that court by voluntarily appearing in the proceedings, otherwise than for the purpose of protecting or obtaining the release of property seized or threatened with seizure in the proceedings, or of contesting the jurisdiction of that court;
- if the debtor was plaintiff in, or counter-claimed in, the proceedings in the original court;
- if the debtor, being a defendant in the original court, had before the commencement of the proceedings agreed, in respect of the subject matter of the proceedings, to submit to the jurisdiction of that court or of the courts of the country of that court;
- if the debtor, being a defendant in the original court, was at the time when the proceedings were instituted resident in, or being a body corporate had its principal place of business in, the country of that court;
- if the debtor, being a defendant in the original court, had an office or place of business in the country of that court and the proceedings in that court were in respect of a transaction effected through or at that office or place;
- the courts of the country of the original court shall be deemed to have had jurisdiction only in the case of a judgment given in an action of which the subject matter was immovable property or in an action in rem of which the subject matter was movable property, if the property in question was at the time of the proceedings in the original court situate in the country of that court.
The courts of the country of the original court shall also be deemed to have had jurisdiction only in the case of a judgment given in an action other than any such action as is mentioned above, if the jurisdiction of the original court is recognized by the law of Jersey.
Notwithstanding anything above, the courts of the country of the original court shall not be deemed to have had jurisdiction if:-
- the subject matter of the proceedings was immovable property outside the country of the original court;
- except as specifically stated above, if the bringing of the proceedings in the original court was contrary to an agreement under which the dispute in question was to be settled otherwise than by proceedings in the courts of the country of that court; or if the judgment debtor, being a defendant in the original proceedings, was a person who under the rules of public international law was entitled to immunity from the jurisdiction of the courts of the country of the original court and did not submit to the jurisdiction of that court.
If the 1960 Law does not apply (where the country is not prescribed or other requirements are not met), a foreign judgement creditor looking to enforce foreign judgments in Jersey must seek to rely on the common law of Jersey.
A creditor seeking to enforce a foreign judgment in Jersey at common law cannot do so simply by direct execution of the judgment. The judgment creditor will have to bring a fresh action in Jersey on the foreign judgment in Jersey. However, the judgment creditor may well be able to seek summary judgment on the ground that the Defendant has no real prospect of successfully defending the claim.
Foreign judgments in Jersey that cannot be registered under the 1960 Law or enforced at common law may still be recognised by the Jersey Courts and may still be relied upon by way of defence or counterclaim in proceedings that are brought in this jurisdiction.
Non-money foreign judgments in Jersey
Non-monetary foreign judgments in Jersey do not fall within the scope of the 1960 Law and until recently they have not been enforceable in Jersey at common law. However the decision of Brunei Investments Agency v Fidelis  JRC 152, the Royal Court held that it now has a discretion to enforce non-money judgments. It held that it had the power to adapt the English common law rules of private international law to reflect the requirements of this jurisdiction.
The court noted, however, that the discretion was to be exercised cautiously. It expressly shied away from defining the criteria the court should take into account when exercising that discretion. It did, however, indicate, that the discretion would be exercised in cases where, inter alia:-
- the foreign judgment was clear and specific;
- there was little likelihood of further supervision being required by the court, given that the respondents knew exactly what they were expected to do;
- there were no grounds upon which the court should refuse to exercise its discretion.
For advice, assistance or further information about registering foreign judgements in Jersey please do not hesitate to call 630530 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
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