PREMIUM LEGAL RESOURCES LEGAL FORMS ASK A LAWYER

FOREIGN MONEY JUDGMENT

A judgement/award for money that was won in/issued by a non-U.S. court or tribunal.

In Hilton v. Guyot, 159 U.S. 113, 205-6 (1895), the leading common law foreign money judgment case, the Supreme Court indicated that: When an action is brought in a court of this country, by a citizen of a foreign country against one of our own citizens, to recover a sum of money adjudged by a court of that country to be due from the defendant to the plaintiff, and the foreign judgment appears to have been rendered by a competent court, having jurisdiction of the cause and of the parties, and upon due allegations and proofs, and opportunity to defend against them, and its proceedings are according to the course of a civilized jurisprudence, and are stated in a clear and formal record, the judgment is prima facie evidence, at least, of the truth of the matter adjudged . . . . Fiske, Emery & Assocs. v. Ajello, 577 A.2d 1139, 1141-43 (Conn. Super. Ct. 1989) (the court noted that under the Foreign Money-Judgments Act, a foreign judgment will be recognized unless 'one of the grounds for nonrecognition of the foreign judgment' is made out; the nonrecognition conditions were characterized as 'defense[s]'). Contra, Ackermann v. Levine, 788 F.2d 830, 842 n.12 (2d Cir.'86) (plaintiff sought enforcement of a foreign judgment under the Act and had to show prima facie that there was subject matter jurisdiction, personal jurisdiction, and that there were regular proceedings conducted by tribunals with procedures that are compatible with due process).

It has long been the law of the United States that a foreign judgment cannot be enforced if it was obtained in a manner that did not accord with the basics of due process. See Hilton, 159 U.S. at 205-6. As the Restatement of the Foreign Relations Law of the United States succinctly puts it: 'A court in the United States may not recognize a judgment of a court of a foreign state if: (a) the judgment was rendered under a judicial system that does not provide impartial tribunals or procedures compatible with due process of law ....' S 482(1)(a)(1987).

A judgment rendered in a foreign state.

Foreign judgments are authenticated in various ways;

1. By an exemplification, certified under the great seal of the state or country where it was rendered.

2. By a copy proved to be a true copy.

3. By the certificate of an officer authorized by law, which certificate must, itself, be properly authenticated. There is a difference between the judgments of courts of common law jurisdiction and courts of admiralty, as to the mode of proof of judgments rendered by them. Courts of admiralty are under the law of nations; certificates of such judgments with their seals affixed, will therefore be admitted in evidence without further proof.

A judgment rendered in a foreign country by a court de jure or even a court defacto in a matter within its jurisdiction, when the parties litigant had been notified and have had an opportunity of being heard, either establishing a demand against the defendant or discharging him from it, is of binding force.

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