The Differences in Enforcing Sister State Foreign Judgments and Foreign Country Judgments.

approach-to-the-UNThe process to domesticate a foreign judgments in New York will depend upon whether your judgment is a foreign country judgment  or foreign sister state judgment.

New York Civil Practice Law and Rules has two separate articles which address the enforcement of each. Pertinent provisions for Sister state judgments may be found in Article 54 of the CPLR.  For foreign country judgments, it’s Article 53.

Sister state judgments get full faith and credit in New York.  The underlying judgments are attackable on the grounds of lack of personal or subject matter jurisdiction or that the judgment was obtained by fraud. They are either directly registered with the County Clerk in New York or, if based on a default or Confession of Judgment, sued on in a legal action. The defendant must raise the jurisdictional defense. If raised, the New York court can hold an appropriate hearing.

Foreign country judgments get comity, a lesser cousin of full faith and credit. A lawsuit on the foreign judgment must be commenced since there is no registration procedure.

With a foreign country judgment the creditor must satisfy two mandatory requirements for the New York court to recognize the judgment. First, the creditor must establish that the judgment was rendered under a system which provides impartial tribunals and procedures compatible with the requirements of due process of law. Second, the creditor must establish that the foreign court had jurisdiction over the defendant. . Defendant can still allege either ground as a defense to a New York action.

For help domesticating, registering and collecting foreign sister state judgments or foreign country judgments contact or call 212-686-0100 ext 12.