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Chinese court assists in upholding foreign case decision

1. Brief of case:
A sales contract dispute arose involving the Ningbo Yong Co and the Fuliguboer Co of Poland, where Yong started the litigation in courts in Poland’s Zielona Gora, in 2004, and Opole, in 2006, requesting payment of $65,454 plus interest by the Polish company. The two courts rejected the request but an appeals court in Wrocław decided to support Yong’s request, then, the Poland’s high court overturned the Wroclaw court decision and remand the case to the court for retrial. On April 8, 2009, the Wroclaw court rejected Yong’s request and ordered the company to refund the $54,521that the Polish company had paid, as well as court costs. The judgment took effect on May 12, 2009. Then, on April 8, 2011, the Polish company sent papers to the Ningbo Intermediate People’s Court for enforcement of the judgment. On Feb 5, 2013, the Polish company forwarded additional papers and the case was put on file. But Yong objected on the grounds that the date for compulsory enforcement of the judgment had passed and that its agent in Poland could not handle the case.

2. Court  judgment Results
The Ningbo Intermediate People’s Court heard the case and had to decide on whether it could be admitted in accordance with China’s Civil Procedure Law and a treaty on civil and criminal case assistance with Poland. The court decided that the Polish company’s filing had not exceeded the time limit for submitting documents for law enforcement, or the termination or suspension of action under Chinese law. In addition, it decided that the attorney-agent’s behavior was valid because Yong had given the same attorney certificate of authorization to attend to litigation, and that this described the general authorization of the agent. The company also received $54,521 from the Polish company, as well as court costs. The court announced its final ruling on March 12, 2014 and recognized the judgment of the Wrocław court, with the civil file number I ACa 231/9, on April 8, 2009.

3. Significance of this case
China has signed agreements on judicial assistance in civil and commercial cases with more than 30 countries; some of which contain the content on mutual recognition and enforcement of a civil and commercial judgment. This case is a typical one for representing Chinese court’s role in judicial assistance by admitting the results and enforcement decision made by a foreign court, in accordance with the law, for protecting the rights of both parties.

The necessary procedure for recognition and enforcement of foreign court judgments:
1. The existence of relevant international treaties or reciprocal relations is the premise of recognition and enforcement of foreign court judgments

Article 544 of the interpretation of the Supreme People’s Court on the application of the Civil Procedure Law of the people’s Republic of China stipulates that “if a party applies to the intermediate people’s Court of the people’s Republic of China with jurisdiction for recognition and enforcement of a legally effective judgment or order made by a foreign court, the court shall, in accordance with the provisions of article 544, apply to the intermediate people’s Court of the people’s Republic of China for recognition and enforcement of, If the country where the court is located and the people’s Republic of China have not concluded or jointly acceded to international treaties or have no reciprocal relationship, the court shall rule to reject the application, unless the party applies to the people’s court for recognition of the legally effective divorce judgment made by a foreign court. If the application for recognition and enforcement is rejected by a ruling, the party may bring a suit in a people’s court, Article 549 stipulates that “if a court of a country which has no treaty on judicial assistance with the people’s Republic of China and has no reciprocal relationship directly requests the people’s court to provide judicial assistance through diplomatic channels, the people’s court shall return it and give reasons.”

2. Apply to the intermediate people’s court with relevant jurisdiction
As far as the subject of application for enforcement is concerned, according to the provisions of China’s civil procedure law and relevant judicial interpretations, the application for recognition and enforcement of foreign court judgments must be made by the parties to the case directly to the intermediate people’s court with jurisdiction in China, or by the foreign court to the Chinese court to provide relevant assistance in enforcement. However, for the countries that have signed bilateral agreements on judicial assistance with China, the enforcement of the judgments of the foreign courts may be subject to their special agreements.
As for the courts of China accepting applications, there are differences in practice according to the differences of the persons executed. If the person subjected to execution is a natural person, the intermediate people’s Court of the registered residence or residence of the court shall have jurisdiction. If the person subjected to execution is a legal person, it shall be under the jurisdiction of the intermediate people’s Court of the place where its main office is located; If the person subjected to execution has no domicile or main office in China, but has corresponding property in China, it shall be under the jurisdiction of the intermediate people’s court in the place where the property is located.

3. Materials to be submitted by parties applying for recognition and enforcement of judgments of foreign courts
The recognition and enforcement of judgments of foreign courts in China is based on the application. Article 543 of the interpretation of the Supreme People’s Court on the application of the Civil Procedure Law of the people’s Republic of China stipulates that “the applicant shall submit an application to the people’s court for the recognition and enforcement of legally effective judgments and rulings made by foreign courts, The original or certified true copy of the legally effective judgment or ruling made by a foreign court and its Chinese translation shall be attached. If the judgment or ruling of a foreign court is a judgment or ruling by default, the applicant shall submit at the same time the documentary evidence that the foreign court has legally summoned, except that the judgment or ruling has clearly stated this. If the international treaties to which the people’s Republic of China is a party have provisions on the submission of documents, they shall be handled in accordance with the provisions. “With the increase of foreign-related cases, the laws and regulations for the recognition and enforcement of foreign court judgments by Chinese courts have become more and more complete, The parties who apply for the recognition and enforcement of the judgments of foreign courts should submit materials in strict accordance with the relevant provisions of the Civil Procedure Law of our country.

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