Legal Memorandum: Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments

Issue: Is a provisional judgment rendered in Commercial Court in Belgium final and enforceable in Pennsylvania courts?

Area of Law: International Law & Global Trade, Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Foreign judgment; Preliminary judgment
Jurisdiction: International, Pennsylvania
Cited Cases: 453 F.2d 435; 833 F. 2d 680; 581 F. Supp. 1039; 888 P.2d 183; 441 Pa. 419; 159 U.S. 113; 192 A.2d 737
Cited Statutes: Pa. Cons. Stat. tit. 42, §§ 22001—22009 (Supp. 2000)
Date: 11/01/2000

Under the Uniform Foreign Money Judgment Recognition Act, Pa. Cons. Stat. tit. 42, §§ 22001—22009 (Supp. 2000), a judgment rendered in a foreign country must be final before it can be enforced.  The Act applies to “any foreign judgment that is final and conclusive and enforceable where rendered, even though an appeal therefrom is pending or it is subject to appeal.”  Id. § 22009.  When all three requirements are met, the judgment “is conclusive to the extent that it grants or denies recovery of a sum of money.”  Id. § 22003.  When such a judgment is recognized, it may be enforced as if it were a judgment from a sister state that has been domesticated in Pennsylvania.  Id.

See also Lucien Simont, Belgium, at 36-37, in Transnational Litigation: A Practitioner’s Gude (Richard H. Kreindler, ed. 1999-2000).  As noted, a provisional judgment is interlocutory, which, by definition means that it is not final.  Id. at 61 (citing Belgium Jud. Code art. 19, ¶¶ 1, 2).  Further, “[i]nterlocutory judgments generally do not have the force of law.”  Id. at 62.  A final judgment, in contrast, has force of law when it is announced until (and if) it is reversed on appeal.  Id.

Note also that the legal term “provisional” specifically means that it is not final.  See Black’s Legal Dictionary 1240 (7th ed. 1999) (“temporary” or “conditional”); Ballentine’s Legal Dictionary 1016 (1969) (“That which is merely temporary, or for the time being, or for the occasion, excluding the idea of permanency.”).  […]

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