Because California, like most states, has enacted a version of the Uniform Foreign-Country Money Judgments Recognition Act, judgments in other countries are enforceable here. However, that enforceability has several limits that you need to understand to have your best chances at successfully pursuing payment. Generally speaking, the courts will not enforce an agreement if:
There is fraudulent activity
Fraudulent activity here can refer to fraudulent actions taken by the opposing party to secure the judgment in the first place. This could also mean that one party bribed the judge or otherwise used deception to secure a win in the case.
The original court did not have jurisdiction.
In order for any order to have validity, the court in question must have some jurisdiction over the individuals or the activity. This can mean that one of the parties involved is a citizen of that country or the company has its headquarters there. It could also mean the transaction took place in the country, even if neither company had a headquarter there.
Doubts about the judgment’s integrity
The integrity of a court and its findings is paramount to public trust in the system. California will not respect judgments that do not meet its standards; the law describes as:
- A judgment that doesn’t fit the facts
- The judgment comes from a legal system that does not provide impartial tribunals
- The foreign court did not provide the defendant adequate time to prepare
- The court’s basis for the judgment is a law that is “repugnant to the public policy” of California
The foreign court must demonstrate respect for the rule of law and consistent, impartial judicial review for California to recognize its judgments.
An appeal is in process
If you can prove that a judgment against you in a foreign court is on appeal, California will not enforce the original judgment until the appeal is resolved.
International enforcement is challenging.
Whatever side of the enforcement action is, you deserve experienced advice and up-to-date information. Finding an attorney who has frequently dealt with these matters is vital.