Dispute Resolution: Update on the Recognition and Enforcement of Judgments in Hong Kong
Currently a foreign judgment can be enforced in Hong Kong by one of two means. Firstly, at Common Law, and secondly, through the Statutory Registration Scheme, namely the Foreign Judgments (Reciprocal Enforcement) Ordinance (Cap. 319).
Even with these two mechanisms in place Hong Kong lacks a comprehensive and reciprocal procedure for registering and recognising foreign judgments.
The Hague Convention has recently established a Special Commission to prepare a draft Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments. The main goal of the future Convention being to enhance access to justice and facilitate cross-border trade and investment by reducing costs and risks associated with cross-border dealings. Hong Kong has been included as part of the Chinese delegation.
The Special Commission held its first meeting in June 2016. At the first meeting, the 2016 Preliminary Draft Convention was agreed. The second Special Commission meeting was held last month. The second meeting, depending on its progress, may be the final meeting before a diplomatic conference is convened to consider and, if appropriate, adopt the draft Convention. It is hoped that the Convention will be finalised in 2017.
If the Convention is adopted by the Hague Conference on Private International Law, the Hong Kong Government will consider its application to Hong Kong. If Hong Kong adopts the Convention, it will provide both foreign and Hong Kong judgment creditors with a more efficient way to enforce their judgments in member states.
A welcome change to the enforcement regime may be on the horizon.