Tax and Insolvency Litigation Solicitor

Judgements obtained in Scotland or Northern Ireland: Enforcing in England

Posted In: Commercial Disputes, Uncategorised

As the world becomes ever more connected, with global trade flows at an unprecedented rate, and assets held by individuals and corporations in jurisdictions all over the world, the issue of how to enforce court Judgements obtained in foreign courts in England is an ever more pertinent question.

The starting point in dealing with this question is to consider where in the world the Judgement was obtained.  The rules differ according to whether the Judgement was obtained in the non-English law jurisdictions of the UK, ie Scotland and Northern Ireland, or whether it was a Judgement from a European Union (“EU”) Member State, a Judgement from a Member State of the European Free Trade Association (“EFTA”), Commonwealth Countries, and then the worlds remaining countries.

The importance of Recognition

No judgment will be enforced unless it is recognised.  This is important to prevent a party to the litigation from, for example, attempting to reopen and re-litigate the substance of the matter in England.

The same principles generally determine whether a judgment will be recognised or enforced. However, no special procedure is normally required in order to get a judgment recognised, as opposed to enforced.

Which regime governs enforcement?

There are four regimes for the enforcement of foreign judgments in England and Wales, depending on where the judgment originates from:


  1. The UK regime: governs Judgments from Scotland or Northern Ireland.
  2. The European regime: governs Judgments from EU and certain EFTA countries.
  3. The statutory regime:  governs Judgments from most commonwealth countries.
  4. The common law regime:  governs Judgments from other countries such as the USA.

What is this Article about?

This Article sets out the basis of of enforcing Judgements obtained in either Scotland or Northern Ireland, in the English Courts.

Further Articles will deal with the treatment of Judgements obtained in other jurisdictions.


Judgments from Scotland or Northern Ireland: the UK regime

The procedure for enforcing judgments from Scotland or Northern Ireland is set out in sections 18, 19 and Schedules 6 and 7 of the Civil Jurisdiction and Judgements Act 1982 together with certain parts of the Civil Procedure Rules 1998.

The procedure applies to judgments in all civil proceedings, except those relating to insolvency, status, capacity or a few other matters such as judgments for provisional measures (such as freezing orders, interim injunctive relief, orders to preserve documents and other evidence), but covers interim payment orders.

The steps that a judgment creditor must take to enforce a foreign judgment under the UK regime are:


  1. Obtain a certificate from the original court (in Scotland or Northern Ireland) containing specified details.


  1. Apply without notice to the High Court to register the judgment. The application must be made within six months of the date of issue of the certificate by the original court. Once registration has occurred the certificate has the same force and effect as an English judgment (Schedules 6 and 7 of the CJJA 1982).


  1. Draw up the order granting permission to register the judgment and serve it on the debtor.


  1. The debtor can apply to set aside registration, if the requirements of Schedules 6 or 7 of the CJJA 1982 (such as the prescribed certificate) were not met. The only other ground (which is discretionary) is that the matter in dispute was the subject of a previous judgment by a court having jurisdiction.

In order to discuss the enforcement of Judgements obtained in Scotland or Northern Ireland, in the English Courts, please email or telephone 07460 005 769.

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