Enforcement of English Court Orders Abroad

With our extensive network of international legal connections, Hughes Fowler Carruthers is well placed to advise on these issues.

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The enforcement of English financial court orders abroad depends upon the nature of the orders and in which country they need to be enforced.

Typically, an order made in England regarding financial matters may contain an order requiring a transfer of a property, payment of capital and payment of ongoing spouse and/or child maintenance.

Within the European Union, excluding Denmark, a 2009 European Maintenance Regulation contains a mechanism for the reciprocal enforcement of orders within the EU. The definition of maintenance includes not only monthly payments but also capital payments or orders for transfer of properties designed to satisfy housing or income needs.

Under the Lugano Convention of 2007, there is a similar system for recognition of maintenance orders which extends to Switzerland, Norway and Iceland.

Enforcement of English orders which fall outside of the scope of the Maintenance Regulation, or the Lugano Convention, may be more problematic, even within the EU. This is especially the case if the order is for a transfer of a property outside the UK.

Enforcing English financial orders outside the EU may also be covered by reciprocal enforcement arrangements. These are in place with the USA and with most Commonwealth countries.

In some countries it may be necessary to convert the English order into a local order. If the country in question is a common law one, then it may be necessary to “sue on the debt” arising from the English court order to obtain a local court order, before enforcement steps can be taken.

With our extensive network of international legal connections, Hughes Fowler Carruthers is well placed to advise on these issues.