On 31 August 2018, the Chief Justice and President of the Supreme People’s Court of the People’s Republic of China and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Singapore signed a Memorandum of Guidance between China and Singapore Courts on the Recognition and Enforcement of Money Judgments in Commercial Cases (“MOG”). The MOG sets out how a money judgment issued by the courts of Singapore may be recognised and enforced in the courts of the People’s Republic of China and vice versa.
IMPORTANT POINTS TO NOTE
The MOG has no binding legal effect and does not compel the reciprocal recognition and enforcement of each country’s money judgments. Nevertheless, the MOG is a useful guide on the requirements and procedures to be applied by each country’s courts when faced with the recognition and enforcement of the other country’s money judgments.
The MOG applies only to judgments requiring a party to pay a fixed or ascertainable sum of money to another party in commercial cases. Money judgments also include judgments on costs.
The MOG extends to judgments of the Singapore International Commercial Court (“SICC”). This means that non-Singaporean parties may choose to have their disputes with Chinese parties heard by the SICC and the SICC judgment may be recognised and enforced in China.
Although the MOG is not a binding agreement or a treaty, one can reasonably expect the courts of both countries to bear these guidelines in mind when faced with the issue of whether and how to recognise and enforce a money judgment from the court of the other country. With this MOG, it is likely that we will start seeing more Chinese money judgments being recognised and enforced in Singapore and more Singapore money judgments being recognised and enforced in China.
The MOG is useful for parties who have commercial dealings with Chinese counter-parties as it provides a clear idea how to go about enforcing a Singapore Court judgment in China. Likewise, parties who obtain Chinese Court judgments against a counter-party who has assets in Singapore would also have the necessary guidance on the subsequent enforcement of such judgments in Singapore.
KEY PROVISIONS OF THE MOG
| ||Enforcing a Singapore Court judgment in the Chinese Court||Enforcing a Chinese Court judgment in the Singapore Court|
|Similarities||Judgments which amount to the direct or indirect enforcement of any foreign penal, revenue or public law will not be enforced by either party.|
|Each party will not review the merits of a judgment of the other party and the judgment may not be challenged on the grounds that it contains an error of fact or law.|
|Basis for recognition and enforcement||Recognition and enforcement are premised on the principle of reciprocity.||Recognition and enforcement are premised on the common law approach. Where a foreign court of competent jurisdiction determines that a sum is due from one person to another, the debtor is legally obliged to pay that sum. The creditor may sue on that debt.|
|Final and conclusive judgment||The Singapore Court judgment must be a final and conclusive judgment, which shall be determined in accordance with Chinese law.||The Chinese Court judgment must be a final and conclusive judgment, which shall be determined in accordance with Chinese law.|
|Jurisdiction||The Singapore Court must have had jurisdiction to determine the subject matter of the dispute, as determined in accordance with Chinese law.||The Chinese Court must have had jurisdiction to determine the subject matter of the dispute, as determined by the Singapore Court.|
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