Writer: Vi Tran
Recently, we often received questions about the recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral award about a dispute of between an oversea company and a company in Vietnam. After studying it and by this article, BLawyers Vietnam shall give a brief guideline on recognition and enforcement of foreign civil judgements and arbitral awards in Vietnam.
1. What is recognition and enforcement of foreign civil judgement, arbitral award?
Recognition and enforcement of civil judgments or awards of foreign courts or foreign arbitration means:
(i) The recognition of the legal effect of followings:
- Court’s civil judgments;
- Rulings of another country’s courts; and
- Rulings by courts of one country of another country arbitrator to the same degree as that of a domestic court.
(ii) The enforcement in a country’s territory of that judgment or award.
2. What are foreign civil judgements, arbitral awards to be recognized and enforced in Vietnam?
Foreign civil judgements on civil means the judgement of foreign court on civil issue. The civil issues include marriage and family, business, commerce, labor, property, etc.
Foreign arbitral award means an award pronounced by a foreign arbitration outside or within the Vietnamese territory. Such foreign arbitration is agreed by the contractual parties to settle their disputes.
To request the recognition or applying enforcement of foreign judgement or arbitral awards, the applicant must meet some conditions. For instance, there must be international treaties on mutual legal assistance in civil between Vietnam and that country. Otherwise, the implementation of such acts shall base on the principle of reciprocity between the countries. In addition, if Vietnamese law regulates such issue, the request of foreign judgement and arbitral award’s recognition and enforcement shall apply.
3. Who has the right to request the recognition and enforcement of foreign civil judgement, arbitration award in Vietnam?
The party who has the right to the enforcement or its legal representatives can request foreign civil judgement, arbitration award’s recognition and enforcement in Vietnam. Conversely, the judgement obligator or its legal representatives might request Vietnamese courts not to recognize such judgements and awards. Besides, the involved parties, interested parties or their legal representatives have the requesting right. However, they can only request Vietnamese courts not to recognize foreign courts’ civil judgments without request for enforcement.
Of note, Vietnamese laws also regulate which cases the recognition and enforcement of foreign civil judgement, arbitration award cannot be done in Vietnam.
4. Procedure of requesting the recognition or applying for enforcement of foreign civil judgement, arbitration award in Vietnam
The authorities to proceed such procedures include Ministry of Justice (“MOJ”) and competent Courts in Vietnam. Generally, the estimated duration to request foreign civil judgement, arbitration award’s recognition or enforcement in Vietnam could take 06 months from the date of full submission of the dossier. The procedure shall implement with following stages:
(i) Step 1: The requestor submits the application and supporting documents to MOJ.
(ii) Step 2: The MOJ shall assign the competent Court to proceed. Then, the competent Court shall consider the acceptance of application.
(iii) Step 3: The competent Court shall consider the application and request for additional explanation, if any.
(iv) Step 4: The Court shall hold the meeting to consider the application. The meeting shall be conducted in the presence of the judgment creditors, judgment debtors or their lawful representatives. The meeting shall not be the re-trial of the case but to consider the recognition and enforcement of judgement or arbitral award only.
(v) Step 5: The Court shall send out the decision after completing the procedure to the involved parties.
To sum up, it is quite clear to request the procedure for recognition and enforcement of foreign civil judgements or arbitral awards in Vietnam. The applicant should satisfy some requirements under the law.
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