Are Foreign Judgments Enforceable In Pakistan?

A foreign judgment is conclusive as to any matter directly adjudicated upon between the same parties or between parties under whom they or any of them claim litigating under the same title except: (a) Where it has not been pronounced by a court of competent jurisdiction; (b) where it has not been given on merits of the case; (c) where it appears on face of proceedings to be founded on an incorrect view of international law or a refusal to recognize the law of Pakistan in cases in which such law is applicable; (d) where proceedings in which judgment was obtained are opposed to natural justice; (e) where it has been obtained by fraud; (f) where it sustains a claim founded on a breach of any law in force in Pakistan.

Foreign judgment may be enforced by proceedings in execution mainly under § 44A of Code of Civil Procedure 1908, but in other cases foreign judgment can only be enforced by a suit upon judgment.

§ 44A states: (1) Where certified copy of decree of any of superior courts of U.K. or any reciprocating territory has been filed in District Court, decree may be executed in Pakistan as if it had been passed by District Court. (2) Together with certified copy of decree shall be filed certificate from such superior court stating extent, if any, to which decree has been satisfied or adjusted and such certificate shall, for purpose of proceedings under this section, be conclusive proof of extent of such satisfaction or adjustment. (3) Provision of § 47 shall as from filing of certified copy of decree apply to proceedings of District Court executing a decree under this section, and District Court shall refuse execution of any such decree, if it is shown to satisfaction of court that decree falls within any of exceptions specified in Clauses (a) to (f) of § 13 which define cases in which a foreign judgment is not conclusive and are quoted first above. Also § 14 states that court shall presume, upon production of any document purporting to be a certified copy of foreign judgment, that such judgment was pronounced by court of competent jurisdiction, unless contrary appears on record; but such presumption may be displaced by proving want of jurisdiction.

§ 47 defines the questions to be determined by court executing decree: (1) All questions arising between parties to suit in which decree was passed, or their representatives, and relating to execution, discharge or satisfaction of decree, shall be determined by court executing decree and not by separate suit. (2) Court may, subject to any objection as to limitation or jurisdiction, treat proceeding under this section as suit or suit as proceeding and may, if necessary, order payment of any additional court fees. (3) Where question arises as to whether any person is or is not representative of party, such question shall, for purposes of this section, be determined by court.

Award given in foreign state by arbitrators selected by parties cannot be equated to judgment given by foreign court and its validity is not open to attack on grounds mentioned in § 13. Award pronounced in foreign state is not judgment within this section and no suit will in consequence lie on it even if it was filed in foreign court unless it was made a rule of court. However suit may be filed on award itself under Arbitration (Protocol & Convention) Act, 1937.

Where a foreign judgment is sought to be enforced in execution under § 44A it will be open to the judgment-debtor to raise all objections which would have been open to him under § 13 if suit had been filed on judgment.

Suit on foreign judgment in court governed by Code of Civil Procedure 1908 must satisfy conditions of § 20 which states that suits should be instituted where defendant resides, or carries on business or personally works for gain or where cause of action wholly or in part arises.

Period of limitation for suit on foreign judgment in six years from date of judgment. (Limitation Act 1908, Schedule 1, Article 117). Pendency of appeal in foreign country will not bar a suit on foreign judgment, but if appeal results in decree dismissing appeal, appellate decree affords fresh starting point for limitation.

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