We all know litigation can be expensive. Imagine spending money to litigate your case, obtaining a successful outcome and then realizing you couldn’t enforce the judgment you obtained and had to enforce it overseas. Fortunately, successful parties from the United Kingdom can generally now register their UK judgments in Australia without having to ‘re-do’ the proceedings here which saves valuable time and costs.
How to register a UK judgment in Australia
There are two primary ways of having a UK judgment recognized in Australia:
- At common law; and
- Registration at the Commonwealth Foreign Judgments Act
In this article, we will focus on registration of the judgment under the Act.
Money judgments of most UK courts may be enforced in Australia by registration under the Act. A money judgment is any judgment, which requires the payment of money including orders for damages and costs. Registering a judgment under the Act is a straightforward and cost-effective procedure. Once registered, the UK judgment has the status of a judgment delivered by an Australian superior court.
Here is a bit of a checklist that can be used to determine if the judgment can be registered and the process of registration:
Which judgments can be registered?
The Act applies to money judgments that are obtained either on a final or interlocutory basis. The money judgment must have been obtained in the last six years and satisfy five criteria as follows:
- Be an enforceable money judgment
- Be final and conclusive
- Be due and owing (you cannot register a judgment if it has been wholly satisfied)
- Be capable of being enforced in the UK
- Not be liable to be set aside if registered under the Act. In registration applications, it is necessary to adduce evidence that the UK judgment would not be liable to be set aside if registered.
Procedure for registering judgments under the Act
Registration applications are typically made on an ex parte basis; that is, without the need for the registering party to physically attend Court. It will involve the preparation and lodgment of various documents with the Court for review by the Registrar. The process is designed to be as time and cost effective as possible.
Once the judgment has been registered, the plaintiff must serve a Notice of Registration on the defendant. The defendant has 14 days in which to file any application to set aside the registered judgment.
If no application to set aside the judgment is made within the prescribed time then the plaintiff can proceed immediately to enforce the judgment against the defendant’s assets. Enforcement action can include bankruptcy, garnishees, writs against a person’s property or winding up a company.
If you are unsure whether your UK judgment can be registered in Australia, we can provide a review of your documents and let you know. LegalVision has experienced litigation lawyers who can assist you with the preparation of registration of documents and the likely legal steps. We offer peace of mind with clear scope and fixed fees wherever possible.