9
Foreign judgments

An English court may find itself called upon to recognise or enforce a judgment rendered by a foreign court. Certain types of judgment, by their nature, only require recognition. These include foreign divorce and nullity decrees. Others, including all judgments in personam, may on occasions only need to be recognised, as when a defendant pleads that he had satisfied a judgment given in the claimant's favour. But the court may be asked to enforce a foreign judgment, such as a maintenance order, or any judgment for damages.

The law governing the matter has become somewhat complex. Six different sets of rules exist. These deal with, respectively, judgments of courts (i) of other EU countries, (ii) of other parts of the United Kingdom, (iii) of EFTA countries,1 (iv) of Commonwealth countries to which the Administration of Justice Act 1920 applies, (v) of countries to which the Foreign Judgments (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act 1933 applies and (vi) of other countries to which rules of common law apply.2 It is the last of these with which this chapter is chiefly concerned.3


Basis of recognition and enforcement

Since the mid-nineteenth century the theory adopted by the English courts to explain their recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments has been the doctrine of 'obligation'. This means that a judgment rendered by a foreign court of competent jurisdiction imposes upon the defendant a duty or obligation to obey it and discharge it and confers a correlative right on the claimant to enforce that obligation through the English courts. This was clearly enunciated in Schibsby v. Westenholz4 by Blackburn J.

____________________
1
(i), (ii) and (iii) are discussed in ch. 10 below.
2
(v) applies to judgments of courts of some EU and EFTA countries to which the rules of the Civil Jurisdiction and Judgment Acts 1982 and 1991 do not apply.
3
Reference to the rules of the 1933 Act will be made where these are apposite.
4
(1870) LR 6 QB 155, quoting Godard v. Gray (1870) LR 6 QB 139. >109

-109-

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Conflict of Laws
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents v
  • Preface to the Third Edition vii
  • Table of Statutes viii
  • Table of Cases xxiv
  • Part I - General Principles 1
  • 1 - Introduction 3
  • 2 - Characteristics of the English 8
  • 3 - Choice of Law Rules 11
  • 4 - Proof of Foreign Law 33
  • 5 - Domicile and Residence 37
  • 6 - Substance and Procedure 60
  • Part II - Jurisdiction and Foreign Judgments 69
  • 7 - Jurisdiction of the English Courts 71
  • 8 - Staying of English Actions and Restraint of Foreign Proceedings 84
  • 9 - Foreign Judgments 109
  • 10 - Jurisdiction and Judgments in the European Union and Efta 131
  • 11 - Arbitration 179
  • Part III - Law of Obligations 187
  • 12 - Contract 189
  • 13 - Tort 220
  • Part IV - Property and Succession 241
  • 14 - Property Inter Vivos 243
  • 15 - Succession 268
  • 16 - Matrimonial Property Relations 277
  • 17 - Trusts 286
  • Part V - Family Law 293
  • 18 - Marriage 295
  • 19 - Matrimonial Causes 319
  • 20 - Children 334
  • Part VI - Exclusion of Foreign Laws 359
  • 21 - Public Policy 361
  • Part VII - Theoretical Considerations 375
  • 22 - Reasons for and Basis of the Conflict of Laws 377
  • 23 - Public International Law and the Conflict of Laws 386
  • Index 395
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