Recognition of Foreign Money Judgments

Foreign creditors who find that their debtors have absconded and found refuge in the USA are often faced with holding money judgments from foreign jurisdictions but lack the knowledge or capacity to enforce those judgments in the US.

While the question of how to enforce foreign money judgments in the US is left for each individual state to determine, a number of states have adopted and are following the Uniform Foreign Money Judgment Recognition Act which seeks to streamline this procedure and which gives foreign creditors a basic outline of how to register their foreign judgments.

Two of the states which have adopted this act are Florida and New York. In these jurisdictions, the creditor will first have to register the foreign money judgment with the court having jurisdiction over the debtor. Notice of the registration is then sent to the debtor allowing him to raise certain defenses against the recognition. Should the debtor not raise any defenses then the court will recognize the foreign money judgment which can then be recorded and is enforceable in the same manner as any other money judgment of that state.

Should the debtor object, then the recognition proceedings become a regular lawsuit; however with the exception that the court will not second-guess the foreign courts findings of fact and law and the basis of the judgment. Rather it will address only jurisdictional questions, such as if the debtor had an opportunity to participate in the foreign proceedings, if the foreign court had jurisdiction over him or if the recognition would violate “ordre public” of the recognizing state.

Once the foreign judgment is recognized, it must be enforced in the same manner as US judgments are enforced. Most notably, some creditors are surprised to find out that in the US enforcement of money judgments will not be done as a matter of course by the courts, Sheriff or US Marshal, but rather the creditor must direct and seek enforcement procedures.

The lawyers of this firm have sufficient experience in this field of law and are available to evauate your foreign money judgments and assist in their enforcement.

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