Civil Jurisdiction and Judgments
Foreign judgments registered under 1920 and 1933 Acts
‘Enforcement of foreign judgments’ at common law is something of a mis-description: there will be a foreign judgment, but it is in fact a consequent, derivative, English judgment which is enforced: the common law does not enforce foreign judgments as judgments, but allows the foreign judgment to pave the way for the judgment creditor to obtain an English judgment and to enforce that. It may be a matter of form more than substance, but it is an important matter of form. However, judgments from a number of foreign countries may be enforced after registration under the provisions of the Administration of Justice Act 1920 and the Foreign Judgments (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act 1933.1 Where this procedure is available, there is no need to bring an action at common law, and good reason not to. And where this procedure is available, it is correct to say that the foreign judgment itself is enforced in England. For this reason, the schemes depend on legislation having identified and specified the countries and their court judgments.
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