Enforcement of judicial decisions between France and PRC (November 2016)

Enforcement of Judicial Decisions between France and the PRC 

Any judicial decision rendered by a foreign court is generally subject to a judicial enforcement proceeding (referred to as exequatur in France) in order to be recognised and enforced in France. In the absence of a specific international convention (whether bilateral or multilateral) a foreign decision shall be recognised and enforced in France if the following conditions set by case-law are satisfied: (i) the foreign court which pronounced the judgment had valid jurisdiction over the case, (ii) the decision at stake complies with French international public policy, and (iii) the judicial decision has not been obtained fraudulently (no forum shopping).

Enforcement regulations applicable between France and the PRC

The enforcement of civil and commercial court decisions between France and the PRC is governed by the Convention on mutual legal assistance in civil and commercial matters between the Government of the French Republic and the Government of the People's Republic of China (Accord d'entraide judiciaire en matière civile et commerciale entre le Gouvernement de la République française et le Gouvernement de la République populaire de Chine) signed on 4 May 1987 as introduced in France by Decree No. 88-298 dated on 24 March 1988 (referred below to as the “Convention”) .

The Convention provides, as a matter of principle, that any judicial decisions rendered in a civil or commercial matter  by the courts of one of the country party to the Convention shall be recognised and enforced on the territory of the other country party to the Convention subject to certain conditions being met.

Conditions to the enforcement of judicial decisions between France and the PRC

The party seeking recognition and enforcement of a d ecision under the Convention must submit to the competent jurisdiction (in France, the Tribunal de Grande Instance where the defendant is domiciled) the following documents: 

  • an original copy of the concerned judicial decision. If the decision does not specifically mention that it is final, an official document attesting that this decision has the status of res judicata must also be provided;
  • an original copy of the notification of the decision to the opponent party. If the decision is a default judgment a copy of the summons evidencing that the party who did not appear has been duly summoned in the action;
  • a certified translation of the documents mentioned above.

Enforcement denials

A court may refuse to pronounce the enforcement of the foreign decision, inter alios, if:

  • such decision has been obtained in a court failing jurisdiction;
  • such decision is not final in the country in which it was rendered;
  • the party who lost the case abroad was unable to appear before court because such party was not validly summoned;
  • the enforcement of the foreign decision may compromise the sovereignty or the security of  the country in which enforcement is sought or the foreign decision proves contrary to public order.

Consequences of the exequatur

A foreign decision that obtains the exequatur in France becomes enforceable in France as if such foreign decision had been obtained before a French court and can therefore be fully executed on the French territory.

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