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In China, Who Will Enforce Court Judgments and Arbitral Awards?-CTD 101 Series

Thu, 18 May 2023
Contributors: Meng Yu 余萌
Editor: C. J. Observer

If the judgment debtor fails to perform the judgment, you may request the court to enforce the judgment.

This post was first published in CJO GLOBAL, which is committed to providing consulting services in China-related cross-border trade risk management and debt collection. We will explain how debt collection works in China below.

You should apply with the court for enforcement within two years upon the expiration of the debt performance period specified in the judgment.

1. Who will enforce the judgment?

In China, the court is responsible for the enforcement of judgments.

Courts may, as needed, set up internal enforcement bodies. At present, the enforcement body of most Chinese courts is referred to as the enforcement department.

The enforcement body of the court comprises such members as judges, enforcement officers, and judicial police. The judge is responsible for directing and making substantive decisions relating to enforcement, such as handling objections to enforcement, making detention decisions and fines decisions. The enforcement officer and the judicial police are responsible for implementing the enforcement measures.

2. What legal instruments can the court enforce in addition to the judgments?

The court is responsible for enforcing the following effective legal instruments:

(1) Civil judgments, rulings, settlement statements, decisions and payment orders made by Chinese courts;

(2) Arbitral awards and consent awards made by Chinese arbitration institutions;

(3) Enforceable notarized creditor’s right documents made by Chinese notary offices; and

(4) Rulings made by Chinese courts regarding the application for recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments, and foreign arbitral awards.

For item (4), it is, in essence, the enforcement of foreign judgments and arbitral awards, which requires a transformation into rulings of Chinese courts, that is, the Chinese court will make a ruling therefor after recognizing a foreign judgment, ruling or arbitral award.

3. What matters can the court enforce?

The legal document to be enforced should specify the obligor and the right holder, and the obligations to be fulfilled.

If the Chinese court cannot tell the judgment creditor and the judgment debtor from the judgment, it will not be able to enforce the judgment.

If the Chinese court cannot decide from the judgment what the judgment debtor should do specifically (such as paying a certain amount of money), it will not be able to enforce the judgment either.

For Chinese courts, the delivery of property, including funds, movable property, real estate, securities and virtual property (such as an online service account), is the most convenient in terms of enforcement.

Chinese courts are reluctant to enforce an act, i.e., to force the judgment debtor to do certain activities(aside from delivering property), because the courts believe that this involves coercion against personal freedom, but they have no such power to do so.



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Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

Contributors: Meng Yu 余萌

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