Enforcement in England of a Judgment obtained from a Court in Asia

Date of Case:February 2021
Key Issue(s):

The client obtained a Judgment from a High Court in Asia, against two individuals of English nationality.  The Judgment obtained was full and final with no right of appeal.  The client was concerned how the Judgment could be enforced and how money could be recovered from the two Defendants, given their place of residence was in England.

What We Did:

We firstly carried out detailed investigations into the whereabouts of the Defendants and importantly, their assets.  From this, the client was able to make an informed decision that the enforcement steps desired would be successful and there was money for them to pursue.

From that, we took the Judgment of the High Court in Asia, and applied to the High Court of England and Wales to have the Judgment recognised as being a Judgment of the Courts of England and Wales. The application required us to set out the details of how the Judgment arose and required confirmation that it was a final Judgment that was not capable of being appealed by the Defendants.  The High Court of England and Wales allowed the application, making an Order that the Judgment sum, converted into British pounds, was an enforceable Judgment in England and Wales against the Defendants.

The Order was served upon the Defendants, giving them the opportunity to contest the Order made, and in absence of such, requiring them to make payment of the Judgment debt.

The Defendants failed to make payment of the Judgment debt, despite making several promises to do so.  In absence of payment, we advised the client to proceed with enforcing the English Judgment.  With the Defendants having property in England of which they were joint registered proprietors, we advised the client to obtain a charging order over the Defendants’ property to secure the Judgment debt.

An application for an interim charging Order was lodged with the High Court in England, and was successfully granted.  Once received, we registered the interim charging order with the Land Registry, so that the client’s interest could be recorded against the title to the Defendants’ property.  A hearing was listed by the Court to determine whether the interim order should be made final.  At the doors of the Court, the Defendant made promises of payment.  However, payment did not materialise in sufficient time before the hearing commenced.  At the hearing, we successfully obtained a final charging Order against the Defendants property, leaving the client at liberty to then take steps to seek an order from the Court to sell the Defendants property, in order to recover payment of the debt from the sale proceeds.

The Defendants finally realised that they had nowhere left to hide, and made payment of the Judgment debt, together with interest that had accrued on that sum, and costs, which substantially increased the Defendants overall liability.

Scope of Work:

The client is a high net work individual resident in Asia who had contracted with the Defendants in Asia and a contractual dispute arose.

Case Details:

The client is a high net worth individual resident in Asia, with a strong personal and family reputation.  The client had contracted with the Defendants in respect of a property the Defendants wished to purchase from the client.  A contractual dispute arose in relation to that purchase and, in accordance with the contractual agreement entered into between the parties, the Defendants acted in breach of such, which entitled the client to a sum of money, payable by the Defendants.

Whilst the Defendants acknowledged and accepted they had entered into the contract, they disputed the sum referred to within it was due.  The client was required to commence proceedings in the Courts in Asia to seek recovery.  The Asian Court was satisfied that it had jurisdiction to hear the proceedings, and no issue was raised by either party on the subject of jurisdiction.  Indeed, the Defendants submitted themselves to the jurisdiction of the Asian Court, and had legal representation throughout.

Shortly before the Trial of the proceedings, the Defendants sought to reach a settlement with the client.   A Consent Judgment, as referred to by the Asian Court, was entered into between the parties, with both having the benefit of legal advice, which was approved by the Court.

The entering of the Consent Judgment set out the mechanism by which the Defendants were to make payment of the Judgment debt to the client.  The Defendants reneged on this, and failed to make any payments to the client.

With the Defendants ‘hiding’ away from the client’s gaze, in England, they formed the misguided opinion that the client would not go to the effort of looking to pursue them and enforce the Judgment.  The Defendants fell silent, no doubt in the hope that the client would simply go away, despite their having substantial assets that could adequately satisfy the Judgment debt.

The client, albeit somewhat hesitant at first because the Defendants were in a different jurisdiction, decided to pursue the matter and instructed Rooks Rider Solicitors to enforce the Judgment against the Defendants in England.

Outcome:

For the client this was a successful result, enabling them to receive payment of a Judgment debt that they had, prior to speaking to us, effectively written off as being impossible to pursue and recover.

The outcome serves as a welcome reminder that, even if the Defendants are in a different jurisdiction to where the Judgment was obtained, it does not mean the successful Claimant has little prospects of recovering the debt.  If Defendants have assets, then steps can be taken to enforce a Judgment, which will come as very welcome news to those in similar situations to our client.

For more information or advice on this matter, contact Gemma Newing or a member of our Rooks Rider Solicitors’ Dispute Resolution team for advice and assistance.

Head of Dispute Resolution Department

Senior Associate

Associate

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