On 1 Mar. 2019, the Xiangyang Intermediate People’s Court (“the Xiangyang Court”) in Hubei Province of China rendered a ruling to recognize the damages awarded by a Polish criminal judgment in Santint Poland Sp. zo.o.v. Zhang pawuleikedan ((2018) E 06 Xie Wai Ren No. 01) (（2018）鄂06协外认1号).
I. Case Overview
The applicant, Santint Poland Sp. zo.o.(三廷特（波兰）有限责任公司), is domiciled in Warsaw, Poland. The respondent Zhang pawuleikedan (former name: Zhang Dan) (张帕吾雷克单，曾用名张单) is domiciled in Xiangyang, China.
The applicant applied to a Chinese court for recognition and enforcement of a ruling in the criminal judgment No. IIIK1004/14 rendered by the third criminal chamber of Warsaw Mokotów District Court on 23 Mar. 2017 (“the Polish Ruling”), which ordered the respondent to pay the applicant 566,781.37 złoty.
The Xiangyang Court accepted the application on 23 Nov. 2018, and delivered a ruling on 1 Mar. 2019 to recognize and enforce the ruling.
II. Case Details
During the period when the respondent served as the applicant’s chairman of the board in Warsaw from 8 July 2010 to 5 Aug. 2011, he abused his power and caused losses to the company. The Polish court rendered a judgment on 23 Mar. 2017, imposing a fine on the respondent and requiring him to compensate the applicant for losses and bear litigation costs.
The applicant only applied to the Xiangyang Court for recognition and enforcement of damages awarded in the Polish Ruling.
China and Poland have signed the Agreement on Judicial Assistance in Civil and Criminal Matters. Article 16 of the Agreement stipulates:
1. Both contracting parties shall recognize or enforce the following judgments rendered in the territory of the other contracting party in accordance with the conditions stipulated in this Agreement: (1) the courts’ ruling on civil cases; (2) the courts’ ruling for the payment of a sum of money in respect of damages in criminal cases; (3) ruling made by the competent authority on the succession cases; and (4) the arbitration award.
2. The “judgments” referred to in this Agreement also include mediation statements.
The Xiangyang Court held that the application belonged to “the courts’ ruling for the payment of a sum of money in respect of damages in criminal cases” in the above clause. Also, the content of the judgment did not violate the general principles of the laws of the People’s Republic of China or the national sovereignty, security, or public interest.
Accordingly, the Xiangyang Court held that the application shall be supported.
III. Our Comments
Up to now, this is the first time we have found that a Chinese court recognizes and enforces a ruling on damages awarded by a foreign criminal judgment.
Clearly, It was due to the specific clause in the bilateral agreement between China and Poland that the Chinese court recognized the Polish ruling.
What if there is no treaty between China and the state where the judgment is made, and there is only a reciprocity relationship, or the treaty merely stipulates that civil judgments can be recognized and enforced? Will the Chinese courts recognize the ruling on damages awarded by a criminal judgment?
We have not yet found any relevant provisions in Chinese laws, nor have we found any opinions of the Supreme People’s Court or its justices on this issue. However, we believe that such judgment should be deemed as civil or commercial judgment and can be recognized by Chinese courts.
Photo by Arun kuttiyani (https://unsplash.com/@arunkuttiyani) on Unsplash
Contributors: Meng Yu 余萌