Businesses need no longer fear that adverse judgments issued by corrupt courts in foreign jurisdictions will be honored in New Jersey. A bill updating our state’s foreign judgment recognition law now sits on Governor Christie’s desk after passing both houses of the New Jersey Legislature unanimously.
When courts outside of the United States hear disputes involving US citizens, those foreign judgments can be brought back to the US for enforcement against US assets. The number of foreign judgments being enforced in the United States—particularly high-dollar ones—is increasing, and plaintiffs are able to forum-shop their way into the most hospitable environment for automatic recognition of dubious and abusive foreign judgments.
A2977 will govern how court rulings issued in foreign countries can be enforced in New Jersey. It forbids New Jersey courts from recognizing judgments that are issued by a court that does not have proper jurisdiction or does not provide due process. The Act would also give courts discretion to block judgments in individual cases that were not handled fairly. For example, New Jersey courts could decline to take up a case where they suspect the underlying judgment was fraudulent, or where not enough notice was given to allow the defendant to defend themselves.
This strikes an appropriate balance between enforcing legitimate judgments and challenging abusive foreign judgments, and brings our state in line with other states who have adopted the Uniform Law Commission’s (ULC) 2005 Uniform Recognition Act.
We urge Gov. Christie to sign A2977.