How to Prepare the Necessary Documents for Enforcing Foreign Judgments in China

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Enforcing foreign judgments in China can seem daunting to those unfamiliar with the intricacies of the Chinese legal system. Understanding the process and preparing the necessary documents properly is pivotal to successful enforcement. This article aims to guide you through these steps in a simple, engaging, and comprehensive manner.


Understanding Foreign Judgments

Before diving into the enforcement process, it’s vital to comprehend what we mean by “foreign judgments.” In legal terms, a foreign judgment refers to a ruling made by a court outside the jurisdiction of China. Such a judgment could pertain to various cases, including commercial disputes, civil matters, or even some criminal cases.


China’s Stance on Foreign Judgments

Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments

China’s approach toward foreign judgments has evolved significantly over the years. Today, the country generally accepts and enforces these judgments, provided certain conditions are met. This is in line with its obligations under international treaties and its own domestic laws.

Reciprocity Principle

One of these conditions is the reciprocity principle. Simply put, China is more likely to enforce judgments from countries that, in turn, enforce judgments from Chinese courts. This principle fosters mutual respect and cooperation between legal systems.

Preparing Necessary Documents

Document Translation

To begin with, all documents for enforcement must be translated into Chinese. This includes the original judgment, any related legal documents, and evidence supporting the claim. It’s crucial to employ a certified translation service to ensure accuracy and acceptance by the courts.

Legalization of Documents

Additionally, documents need to be legalized, a process that verifies their authenticity. Typically, this entails obtaining an apostille or an equivalent certification from the issuing nation and then having the Chinese Embassy or Consulate in that nation authenticate it.

Original Judgments and Certificates

The original judgment and a certificate of finality must be included in your document set. The certificate of finality asserts that the judgment is final and enforceable in the issuing jurisdiction.


Legal Proceedings

Submission of Documents

Once all documents are prepared, they must be submitted to the appropriate Chinese court. This usually is the Intermediate People’s Court in the region where enforcement is sought.

Court Process in China

The court will review the documents and determine whether to recognize and enforce the foreign judgment. This process may take several months and may require additional documents or clarification.

Enforcing the Judgment

The judgment debtor will be required to fulfill the obligation as outlined in the foreign judgment if the court rules in favor of enforcement. If the debtor fails to comply voluntarily, compulsory enforcement measures may be taken.


Potential Challenges

Jurisdiction Issues

Despite the guidelines, enforcing foreign judgments in China may come with some challenges. One potential hurdle could be jurisdiction issues. Chinese courts may deny enforcement if they believe the foreign court did not have proper jurisdiction over the case.

Public Policy Concerns

Another potential challenge is if enforcing foreign judgment violates China’s public policy or sovereignty. In such cases, the Chinese courts can reject the enforcement.



Enforcing foreign judgments in China involves understanding the legal landscape, preparing the necessary documents meticulously, and navigating potential challenges. Following these guidelines increases the likelihood of having a foreign judgment recognized and enforced in China.


Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can any foreign judgment be enforced in China? Not all foreign judgments can be enforced in China. The judgment must be final and conclusive, and the issuing country must share a reciprocal enforcement agreement with China.

2. How long does enforcing a foreign judgment in China take? The timeframe varies depending on the case’s complexity, but it can take several months for the Chinese courts to review the case and decide.

3. What happens if the debtor refuses to comply with the enforced judgment? If the debtor fails to comply with the judgment voluntarily, the court may initiate compulsory enforcement measures.

4. Is it necessary to translate all documents into Chinese? All documents submitted to the Chinese courts must be translated into Chinese.

5. What is the role of the reciprocity principle in enforcing foreign judgments in China? The reciprocity principle implies that China is more likely to enforce judgments from countries that, in turn, enforce judgments from Chinese courts.


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