On 17 May 2022, the Shanghai Maritime Court (following approval from the Supreme People’s Court) ruled to recognize and enforce a commercial judgment rendered by the English Court of Appeal, based on the principle of reciprocity.
It is the first time a Chinese court has recognized and enforced an English commercial judgment.
The judgment is rendered from a case between Norway Spar Shipping AS (the Claimant) and Grand China Logistics Holding (Group) Co., Ltd. (the Respondent). In the first instance, England Queen’s Bench Division Commercial Court held that the Respondent should compensate for the losses entailed. Later, the English Court of Appeal upheld the judgment, but the Respondent refused to fulfill the judgment, and that’s why the Claimant decided to seek enforcement of the English judgment in China.
It is also the first case in which a Chinese court ruled to recognize and enforce a foreign court judgment in accordance with the “Conference Summary of the Symposium on Foreign-related Commercial and Maritime Trials of Courts Nationwide” (《全国法院涉外商事海事审判工作座谈会会议纪要》, hereinafter “the Conference Summary”).
The Conference Summary, which takes effect in 2022, significantly loosens the criteria for enforcing foreign judgments in China.
According to the Conference Summary, a Chinese Court can determine that a reciprocal relationship exists if, under the law of the country where the judgment is rendered, the civil or commercial judgments rendered by Chinese courts can be recognized and enforced by the courts of that country.
The Shanghai Maritime Court believes that the Civil Procedure Law does not limit the principle of reciprocity to the prior recognition and enforcement of China’s civil and commercial judgments by relevant foreign courts. That is to say, the scope of reciprocity is not limited to de facto reciprocity.
Therefore, reciprocity is deemed to exist as long as civil or commercial judgments rendered by Chinese courts can be recognized and enforced by the foreign court, regardless of whether the foreign court has actually recognized and enforced Chinese judgments.
Cover Photo by Yufeng Fei on Unsplash
Contributors: CJO Staff Contributors Team