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New York’s Appellate Division Holds that Chinese Judgment Should Not Be Denied Enforcement on Systemic Due Process Grounds

Written by William S. Dodge (Professor, University of California, Davis, School of Law)

Should courts in the United States refuse to recognize and enforcement Chinese court judgments on the ground that China does not provide impartial tribunals or procedures compatible with the requirements of due process of law? Last April, a New York trial court said yes in Shanghai Yongrun Investment Management Co. v. Kashi Galaxy Venture Capital Co., relying on State Department Country Reports as conclusive evidence that Chinese courts lacked judicial independence and suffered from corruption. As Professor Wenliang Zhang and I pointed out on this blog, the implications of this decision were broad. Under the trial court’s reasoning, no Chinese judgment would ever be entitled to recognition in New York or any of the other U.S. states that have adopted Uniform Acts governing foreign judgments. Moreover, U.S. judgments would become unenforceable in China because China enforces foreign judgments based on reciprocity. But on March 10, just three weeks after oral argument, New York’s Appellate Division answered that question no, reversing the trial court’s decision.

As background, it is important to note that the recognition and enforcement of foreign country judgments in the United States is generally governed by state law. Twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia have enacted the 2005 Uniform Foreign-Country Money Judgments Recognition Act. In nine additional states, its predecessor, the 1962 Uniform Foreign Money-Judgments Recognition Act, remains in effect. At the time of the trial court’s decision, the 1962 Uniform Act governed in New York, but it was superseded by the 2005 Uniform Act on June 11, 2021. Both Uniform Acts provide for the nonrecognition of a foreign judgment if “the judgment was rendered under a judicial system that does not provide impartial tribunals or procedures compatible with the requirements of due process of law.”

A few takeaways from the 2022 meeting of the HCCH governing body (CGAP): publications and future meetings

On 7 March 2022, the Conclusions & Decisions of the governing body of the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH), i.e. the Council on General Affairs and Policy (CGAP), were released. Click here for the English version and here for the French version.

For official information on the ceremony of signatures and ratifications of instruments, click here (HCCH news item). For our previous post on the signature of the USA of the 2019 Judgments Convention, click here.

Although a wide range of topics was discussed, I would like to focus on two: publications and future meetings.

1) Publications

This meeting was very fruitful in getting the necessary approval for HCCH publications. There were three publications approved, ranging from family law to access to justice for international tourists.

Family law

Declaration of the Institute of International Law on aggression in Ukraine

Yesterday (1 March 2022) the Institute of International Law approved a declaration on the aggression in Ukraine. The declaration is available by clicking the following links:

Declaration of the Institute of International Law on Aggression in Ukraine – 1 March 2022 (EN)-1

Déclaration de l’Institut de Droit international sur l’agression en Ukraine – 1 mars 2022 (FR)

The current developments in Ukraine and the measures and sanctions currently in place have undoubtedly an impact across all areas, including private international law. See for example the measures adopted by the European Union here.

I include an excerpt of the declaration below:

The Institute recalls that the ongoing military operations call ipso facto for the application of international humanitarian law, including the rules relating to occupation, as well as all the other rules applicable in times of armed conflict. It recalls also that persons responsible for international crimes as defined by international law may be prosecuted and sentenced in accordance with the law in force.

News

RabelsZ: new issue alert

Issue 2/2022 of RabelsZ has just been published. It contains the following contributions:

Ralf Michaels: Peter Mankowski *11.10.1966 †10.2.2022, Volume 86 (2022) / Issue 2, pp. 323–326, DOI: 10.1628/rabelsz-2022-0028

Katharina Pistor: Rechtsvergleichung zwischen Rechts- und politischer Ökonomie: am Beispiel des Unternehmensrechts, Volume 86 (2022) / Issue 2, pp. 327–363, DOI: 10.1628/rabelsz-2022-0029

….and a Book Review in the Second Issue of ICLQ for 2022

Further to my last post, I omitted to include a book review by Professor Gilles Cuniberti in the second issue of ICLQ for 2022 which is focused on essays written in honour of Emeritus Professor Adrian Briggs (QC), and the latest edition of his (Prof. Briggs’) book on Civil Jurisdiction and Judgements.

Disclosure: Prof. Cuniberti was the doctoral supervisor of my thesis, while Prof. Briggs was an external examiner of my PhD thesis.

Just out – Lessons on Private International Law / several authors (in Spanish)

The book entitled Lessons on Private International Law published by DIKAIA is the result of a collective effort of some of the speakers who presented at a course organised by the Mexican Consejo de la Judicatura Federal (Council of the Federal Judiciary) and the Mexican Escuela Federal de Formación Judicial (Federal School of Judiciary Training) in 2021.

Basically, this book puts into writing some of the presentations relating to the general topics on Private International Law given at the course. It should be noted that this book has seen the light of day thanks to the devoted work of professors Jorge Alberto Silva Silva and Nuria González Martín, who were the editors / coordinators.