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Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in India

Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in India – Inclusion of UAE as a Reciprocating Territory

The Ministry of Law and Justice, Government of India vide its Notification dated January 17, 2020 (“Notification”) declared United Arab Emirates (“UAE”) a “reciprocating territory” for the purposes of enforcing foreign civil decrees in India. The declaration has been made by the Indian government in exercise of powers under Explanation 1 appended to Section 44A, Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (“CPC”). Pursuant to the Notification, decrees passed by the courts in UAE are now executable in India as if they were passed in India.

CPC lays down the procedure for enforcement of foreign judgments and decrees in India. A foreign judgment is a judgment of a foreign court and a foreign court means a court situated outside India and not established or continued by the authority of the Central Government. A foreign judgment needs to be conclusive for it to be enforceable in India. The test of conclusiveness of a foreign judgment is provided under Section 13 of CPC, which postulates that a foreign judgment shall be conclusive unless:

  1. It has not been pronounced by a court of competent jurisdiction;
  2. It has not been given on the merits of the case;
  3. It appears, on the face of the proceedings, to be founded on an incorrect view of international law or a refusal to recognize the law of India in cases in which such law is applicable;
  4. The proceedings in which the judgment was obtained are opposed to natural justice;
  5. It has been obtained by fraud;

f)    It sustains a claim founded on a breach of any law in force in India.

Broadly, a foreign judgment in India can be enforced in the following ways:

  1. Decrees passed by courts in reciprocating territories: Reciprocating territories enjoy the privilege of direct enforcement of a decree within the territory of India by filing execution proceedings of the decree before an Indian court. A reciprocating territory is any country or territory outside India which the Central Government may, by notification in the official gazette, declare to be a reciprocating territory and the superior courts with reference to any such territory, are the courts as may be specified in the notification notified by the Government. In accordance with the CPC, if a certified copy of the decree of any of the superior courts of any reciprocating territory is filed in a district court, the decree may be executed in India as if it has been passed by the district court. Such foreign judgment to be executable in India must be conclusive (i.e., should not be falling under any of the above stated six categories) and needs to comply with the laws of limitation of India. Also, the decree with reference to a superior court would be any decree or judgment of such court under which a sum of money is payable, not being a sum payable in respect of taxes or in respect of a fine or other penalties, but shall in no case include an arbitral award, even if such an award is enforceable as a decree or judgment.

Some of the countries that have been declared to be “reciprocating territories” are United Kingdom, Singapore, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Trinidad & Tobago, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, etc.

  1. Judgments passed by non-reciprocating territories: Such judgments can be enforced only by first preferring a lawsuit in an Indian court for a judgment based on the foreign judgment and second, filing for execution proceedings after obtaining the Indian decree. Section 14 of the CPC provides for presumption, albeit a rebuttable one, in favour of the foreign judgment being one passed by a court of competent jurisdiction. For the purposes of Indian courts, such foreign judgment is of evidentiary value only.

Considering that the decrees from reciprocating territories are directly enforceable in India, the inclusion of UAE as a “reciprocating territory” will be beneficial for a UAE decree-holder to enforce the decreed time and cost-efficiently in India. The courts in UAE which will be considered as the superior courts of UAE for the purposes of section 44A of CPC are the Federal Supreme Court; Federal, the First Instance and Appeals Courts in the Emirates of Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain and Fujairah; and local courts in Abu Dhabi Judicial Department, Dubai, Ras Al Khaimah Judicial Department, Abu Dhabi Global Markets and Dubai International Financial Center.

It further implies that Indian expatriates in UAE would no longer be able to seek safe haven in their home country if they have a decree against them in a civil case in the UAE. It would also be interesting to see how this development will impact the proceedings under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 were so far the National Company Law Tribunal (“NCLT”, in the matter of M/s Stanbic Bank Ghana Limited v. M/s Rajkumar Impex Private Limited CP/670/IB/2017), has held that NCLT has no jurisdiction to enforce foreign decree, however, there is no bar in it taking cognizance of the foreign decree. The Notification, however, will have no impact upon enforcement of arbitral awards passed by arbitral tribunals seated in UAE as the scope of Notification is strictly limited to decrees covered under section 44A of CPC.

Kelly Hyman

Kelly Hyman’s Journey from Child Actress to Top Class Attorney

Standing at 5’9″ in flats or bare feet, with shoulder length long blonde hair and bluish green eyes, American attorney Kelly Hyman may come across as someone who is about to walk the red carpet more than someone you would meet in a courtroom

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After being discovered by Charlton Heston and landing the role of Loretta on “The Young and the Restless” – Attorney Kelly Hyman set her sights on becoming the next Eric Brokovich.

Standing at 5’9” in flats or bare feet, with shoulder length long blonde hair and bluish green eyes, American attorney Kelly Hyman may come across as someone who is about to walk the red carpet more than someone you would meet in a courtroom.  That’s probably because before she went on to receive accolades like receiving the AV Preeminent Rating from Martindale-Hubbell three years in a row (the highest possible rating for attorneys), and before being named one of the top 25 class action trial lawyers in her home state of Colorado, Kelly Hyman was enjoying a successful career as a child actor.

Born in Miami Beach, Florida and then raised by her single mother, first in Southern California, and later moving to New York City, Kelly Hyman is probably most known for her role as Loretta on the iconic daytime television program “The Young and The Restless” as well as lending her voice to the now infamous “Gimme a break” commercial for Kit Kat.  Her Hollywood looks and ability to navigate the screen continue to serve her now in her prominent legal career.  Leveraging her legal skills and her background as a performer, she now appears as a regular legal contributor and voice of reason on difficult and controversial topics like the nationally covered Jussie Smollett hate crime hoax case, voters’ rights, free speech and key concerns among today’s working women.

Interview:

You grew up in California and had a successful career as a child actor.  How did you get into acting, and what were some of your favorite projects?

My mother was a single mother who was struggling financially. She was however a tennis pro and was teaching Charleston Heston tennis lessons in southern California. My mom asked Mr. Heston if he could help get me an agent and he did. I started doing commercials at age 5.  One of my favorite projects that I worked on was a movie called “Doin’ Time on Planet Earth” with Adam West from Batman. I remember my first day on the set and Adam West was dressed up as a police officer and not knowing who he was, my mother, who was born in Australia,  approached him and said, officer, and he smiled and said yes, my mom then asked him for the location of where I needed to check in for my day on the set, and Adam, pointed to the direction where I needed to go and told her to keep walking straight and it will be on the left side. My mother smiled and stated, thank you officer, and he, playing the role of the police officer, smiled, and stated that it was his pleasure.  It was an experience I will always cherish and never forget. I always smile when I think about it.

How did you transition from acting to law?

I knew that I always wanted to go to law school, and one of my dear friends from college suggested that I apply.  I realized that I reached a point in my acting career where I wanted to take a break and go to law school.

What made you pursue consumer protection law? 

I have always wanted to make a difference in this world and help people. Protecting people and fighting for their rights enables me to help them, and therefore have a positive effect on their lives.  Having a positive impact on people is my biggest motivation.

You have been called “a Modern Day Erin Brokovich” by the media, how do you feel when you hear that?  Was she an inspiration to you?

It is great to hear that people consider me a modern-day Erin Brockovich, she is truly an inspirational female role model, and it is incredibly humbling to be compared to someone that has created the kind of legacy that she has. She has fought for and helped so many people and continues to help people and have a positive effect on people’s lives even to this day.

She is an inspiration to me because she wants to make a difference in people’s lives and truly help them. Justice works when people stand up for what they believe in.

What would you consider to be your most interesting case that you fought and won?

When I worked at a law firm in Florida, I worked on tobacco litigation and mass tort litigation where I represented people that were harmed by medical devices and drugs. These cases were interesting because I knew that my clients were harmed, and I wanted to help them. I represented women that had transvaginal mesh implanted and they had serious complications because of it. Knowing that I was helping undo a wrong and make a positive impact on these women’s lives is something that I will always truly cherish. Knowing that they received justice for their harm is something that I am most proud of in my legal career. Knowing that I was helping people and making a positive difference in their life is one of the things that I’m so thankful for every day. Knowing that I am helping people get justice for their harm.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Follow your dreams. You can achieve everything that you want. The only limitations that you have are the ones that you put on yourself. Be brave, be bold and be you.