Can Judgments From My Country Be Enforced in China?
The judgments of most of China’s major trading partners, including almost all common law countries as well as most civil law countries, can be enforceable in China.
Specifically, the judgment can be enforced in China if the country where the judgment is rendered satisfies the following circumstances:
1. The country has concluded an international or bilateral treaty with China in respect of the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments.
(1) International treaties
China has signed, but not yet ratified, the Convention on Choice of Court Agreements (2005 Choice of Court Convention). China has not yet acceded to the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Civil or Commercial Matters (the “Hague Judgments Convention”). Therefore, these two treaties cannot, at least at the current stage, be applied as the basis for the Chinese court to examine applications for recognition and enforcement of judgments of relevant contracting states.
(2) Bilateral treaties
To date, China and 39 States have concluded bilateral judicial assistance treaties, among which 35 bilateral treaties, include judgment enforcement clauses. For the judgments of these countries, China will examine their applications for recognition and enforcement in accordance with these bilateral treaties.
France, Spain, Italy, and Russia are among these 35 countries.
For more about bilateral judicial assistance treaties that China and 39 States have concluded, please read ‘List of China’s Bilateral Treaties on Judicial Assistance in Civil and Commercial Matters (Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Included)’.
Currently, 35 countries meet this requirement, including France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Brazil, and Russia.
2. The country has a de jure reciprocal relationship with China.
It means that where a civil or commercial judgment rendered by a Chinese court can be recognized and enforced by the court of the foreign country according to the law of the said country, a judgment of the said country may, under the same circumstances, be recognized and enforced by the Chinese court.
In accordance with the criteria of de jure reciprocity, the judgments of many countries can be included in the scope of enforceable foreign judgments in China.
For common law countries, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, their attitude towards applications for recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments is open, and in general, such applications meet this criterion.
For civil law countries, such as Germany, Japan, and South Korea, many of them also adopt a similar attitude to the above-mentioned de jure reciprocity, so such applications also meet this criterion to a great extent.
3. The country and China have promised each other reciprocity in diplomacy or reached a consensus at the judicial level.
The SPC has been exploring cooperation in mutual recognition and enforcement of judgments with other countries in a lower-cost way in addition to signing treaties, such as a diplomatic commitment or a consensus reached by the judiciaries.
It can achieve functions similar to that of treaties but without being involved in the lengthy process of treaty negotiation, signing, and ratification.
China has started similar cooperation with Singapore. A good example is the Memorandum of Guidance Between the Supreme People’s Court of the People’s Republic of China and the Supreme Court of Singapore on Recognition and Enforcement of Money Judgments In Commercial Cases.
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