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From Sea to shining Sea: Collecting Judgements on Non-U.S. Soil

On Behalf of | May 9, 2022 | Complex/Business Litigation

This blog is about collecting and enforcing a judgment against a resident of a different country. The collection of judgments outside of the United States is a very large and complex process and it is very dependent on which country of origin you either have the judgment or are attempting to enforce the judgment.

For example, countries that are a part of the European Union tend to have a more structured process by which a party can obtain or collect on the judgment that has been entered against both individuals and corporations doing business within the EU.

Other countries, for example Romania, which is in the process of joining the EU, does not have the type of rules in place for the enforcement of judgments as compared to more established EU nations. Countries such as Britain and Canada have stronger and more structured debt collection procedures and laws.

If you have a judgment you are seeking to enforce outside the US, first determine what the rules are in the locality that you have the judgment or are trying to enforce it.

A best practice is to hire local counsel or a large law firm in the United States that has a branch or relationship in the country that you are trying to enforce.

Be prepared to spend a significant amount of money upfront for both the assistance in collecting the judgment as well as the filing, court and legal fees for both serving the defendant creditor or serving the holder of any assets that you wish to collect in the foreign country.

Also, keep in mind there is a significant process by which you may be able to find assets in the United States that you can attach for the benefit of your creditor.

For example, when there are financial judgments against corporations or banks or other institutions doing business in the United States, you may be able to attach the assets that are in the United States, i.e. bank accounts or real estate, in order to satisfy your judgment.

In general, a best practice is to obtain the assistance and cooperation of a law firm who specializes in the collection of judgments in the particular country that you’re trying to satisfy for your client.