Chinese Court Recognizes a UAE Judgment for the First Time, DIFC Courts “Off to a Good Start” in China
A court in Yinchuan, China, recognized a United Arab Emirates (UAE) court judgment in March 2018, which will help the Dubai International Financial Center Courts (the DIFC Courts) to participate in dispute resolution related to China in future.
On 6 March 2018, Yinchuan Intermediate People's Court (Yinchuan Court) made the civil ruling“(2017) Ning 01 Xie Wai Ren No. 1”((2017)宁01协外认1号)，recognizing the civil judgment of the Dubai Court of First Instance, UAE (Case No.417/2016). As far as we know, it is the first time that a Chinese court has recognized a UAE judgment.
Yinchuan Court recognized the UAE judgment in accordance with the Agreement between the People's Republic of China and the United Arab Emirates on Judicial Assistance in Civil and Commercial Matters (the Agreement). The Agreement entered into force on 12 April 2005. Paragraph 1, Article 17 of the Agreement provides that "Each Contracting Party shall, in accordance with its domestic laws, recognize and enforce rulings on civil, commercial and identity matters, as well as rulings on collateral civil matters in criminal cases made by the courts of the other Contracting Party".
2. Case Summary
Li Xianming (李先明) filed a lawsuit against Tian Fei (田飞) at the Dubai Court of First Instance, UAE on 26 September 2016. Li and Tian are both residents of the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region of China. Li signed a commission agreement with Tian, in which they agreed that Li commissioned Tian to handle the necessary permits and approval documents for the pilgrimage from the UAE to Mecca. Thereafter, disputes arose between the parties over the agreement. The Dubai Court of First Instance issued a default judgment on 14 December 2016, ordering Tian to return RMB 1,145,000 to Li, as well as other expenses including lawyer fees of Dh 1,000.
On 25 July 2017, Yinchuan Court accepted Li's application for recognition of the aforementioned judgment by the Dubai Court of First Instance, and organized a hearing on 20 November 2017. Tian was absent from the hearing.
Yinchuan Court found: Li's lawyer provided information to the Dubai Court of First Instance to help notify Tian, and the Court has repeatedly notified Tian to appear in court, but Tian has not yet attended the trial of the Dubai Court of First Instance.
Yinchuan Court held that: (1) The place of domicile of the respondent (Tian) is Yinchuan, so Yinchuan court has jurisdiction over Li's application; (2) The applicant (Li) has submitted to Yinchuan Court a certified copy of the judgment by the Dubai Court of First Instance and its Chinese translation; (3) China and the UAE have concluded an international treaty on mutual recognition and enforcement of civil judgments (i.e. the aforementioned Agreement); (4) The judgment of the Dubai Court of First Instance does not violate the basic principles of Chinese laws or national sovereignty, security, and social public interests.
Yinchuan Court hereby recognized the judgment of the Dubai Court of First Instance and ordered Tian, the respondent, to bear the application fee of RMB 100 for the case.
The recognition and enforcement by Yinchuan Court of the Judgment of the Dubai Court of First Instance, UAE, means that recognizing and enforcing the UAE court judgments in China, including those made by the DIFC Courts, has become a reality.
It is worth noting that the DIFC Courts signed a memorandum of cooperation with the Shanghai High People's Court in 2016 in order to make forging links with China a strategic priority. The DIFC Courts also stated on the website that, "DIFC Courts' judgments and orders are enforceable in many countries (including China and India) according to the domestic laws governing the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments". The ruling of Yinchuan Court proved that efforts of the DIFC Courts have begun to bear fruits. The case also means that parties will be more reassured to resolve disputes that may involve recognition and enforcement of judgments in China at the DIFC Courts.
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