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HOME > Publications > Professional Articles > Enforcing Judgments of Chinese Courts in Australia 在澳大利亚执行中国法院的判决

Enforcing Judgments of Chinese Courts in Australia 在澳大利亚执行中国法院的判决

Author: 鸿鹄律师事务所澳大利亚办公室 合伙人Sophie Dawson 律师Matthew Mulcahy 2019-08-144134

Judgments of Chinese courts are enforceable in Australia via the common law procedure for enforcement of foreign judgments. Two such judgments have been enforced by Australian courts in recent years, most recently in February 2019.

在澳大利亚,中国法院的判决可以通过执行外国判决的普通法程序得到执行。 近年来,澳大利亚法院已经执行了两项此类判决,最近一次是在2019年2月。

This article looks at the conditions that must be satisfied to enforce a Chinese judgment in Australia and the defences that are available to enforcement. This article will also summarise the two judgments that have been enforced and discuss the key takeaways from those judgments.


This article does not apply to judgments issued by the Court of Final Appeal or the High Court of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. A separate procedure mandated by statute applies to judgments issued by these Courts.


Enforcing a judgment of a Chinese court in Australia


A judgment of a Chinese court may be recognised and enforced in Australia via the common law procedure for enforcement of foreign judgments.


The plaintiff is required to commence a fresh court proceeding in Australia in order to enforce the judgment. The plaintiff may either rely on the judgment as imposing an obligation on the defendant to pay the sum, and/or base the fresh proceeding on the original cause of action and rely on the judgment of the Chinese court to estop the defendant from raising any defence which was, or could have been, raised in the Chinese proceeding.


The Australian court will generally recognise and enforce the judgment if the following four conditions are satisfied:


1、The foreign court must have exercised jurisdiction over the defendant which Australian courts will recognise. This is normally established by proving that the defendant was either a resident of the foreign jurisdiction or had a presence in the foreign jurisdiction, or voluntarily submitted to the jurisdiction;


2、The foreign judgment must be final and conclusive;


3、The parties to the foreign judgment and the Australian proceeding must be identical; and


4、If based on a judgment in persona (that is, a judgment imposing a personal obligation on the defendant), the judgment must be for a fixed debt.


The onus rests on the party seeking to enforce the foreign judgment to establish these grounds. Once they are established, the judgment is prima facie enforceable in Australia unless the defendant can establish one or more of the recognised defences. The defences are:


1、Where granting enforcement of the foreign judgment would be contrary to Australian public policy. This includes judgments obtained by improper means, such as duress or undue influence;


2、Where the foreign judgment was obtained by fraud (including equitable fraud) by the parties or by the foreign court; 


3、Where the foreign judgment is penal or a judgment for a revenue debt; and


4、Where enforcement of the decision would amount to a denial of natural justice.


It falls to the defendant to establish any of the above defences to enforcement.


A defendant cannot challenge the inherent merits of the foreign decision by alleging that the foreign court made a mistake of fact or law. Moreover, a defendant cannot raise any defence in an enforcement proceeding that was, or could have been, raised in the foreign proceeding.


Recent Australian cases


Two judgments of Chinese courts have been recognised and enforced in Australia in recent years.


The first judgment was made by the People’s Court of Jiangsu Nantong Chongchuan District in April 2017. The judgment sum was RMB 3,900,000. The plaintiff applied to the Supreme Court of Victoria to recognise and enforce the judgment in Australia. The defendants did not appear before the Supreme Court, and the plaintiffs' application was therefore unopposed.


The Supreme Court was satisfied that each of the four conditions as set out above had been made out, and accordingly granted the plaintiffs' application: Liu v Ma (2017) 55 VR 104.

州最高法院认为上述四项条件中的每一个都已经满足,并据此支持了原告的申请:Liu诉 Ma案,载于维多利亚州案例汇编2017年第55卷第104页。

The second judgment was made by the People’s Court of Huqiu District, Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province in October 2014. The judgment sum was RMB 20,000,000. The defendants moved to Australia shortly before the judgment was delivered. The plaintiff subsequently commenced a proceeding against the defendants in the Supreme Court of Victoria, and applied for summary judgment in the proceeding based on the back of the Chinese judgment.


As in Liu v Ma, the Supreme Court was satisfied that each of the four conditions for the recognition and enforcement of the judgment had been made out, and decided to grant an order for summary judgment: Suzhou Haishun Investment Management Co Ltd v Zhao & Ors [2019] VSC 110 (Suzhou v Zhao). Notably, the Court said at [112]:

与“Liu诉Ma”案一样,州最高法院认为承认与执行判决的四项条件中的每一项都已经满足,并决定下令作出简易判决:Suzhou Haishun Investment Management Co Ltd 诉Zhao及Ors案,载于维多利亚州州最高法院案例汇编2019年第110页(以下简称“Suzhou诉Zhao案”)。值得注意的是,法院在第[112]页明确:

It is inevitable that if an individual is subject to and submits to the laws and procedures of a foreign jurisdiction then, unless it offends this Court’s principles of justice or fairness encapsulated in the rule of law, it is appropriate for this Court to have regard to the decisions of that foreign jurisdiction as the basis to make an order for summary judgment.


These decisions indicate that in the right circumstances, Australian courts will recognise and enforce judgments of Chinese courts. They also provide some guidance as to the facts that an Australian court may take into account in determining whether a Chinese court exercised a recognisable jurisdiction over a defendant.  In both cases, the fact that the defendants were natural citizens of China and each held a Chinese passport and identity card weighed in favour of a finding that the relevant Chinese court exercised a recognisable jurisdiction over the defendants. Other relevant factors included that the defendants had substantial activities and financial affairs in China (in the case of Liu v Ma), and that the defendants had contractually submitted to the jurisdiction of the relevant Chinese Court (in the case of Suzhou v Zhao).

这两项判决表明,在适当的情况下,澳大利亚法院将承认并执行中国法院的判决。 这两项判决还就澳大利亚法院在认定中国法院是否对被告行使了可承认的管辖权时可能考虑的事实提供了一些指引。在这两起案件中,被告都是中国自然公民并持有中国护照和身份证的事实有利于判定相关中国法院对被告行使了可承认的管辖权。其他相关因素包括被告在中国有大量活动和经济事务(在“Liu 诉 Ma案”中),并且被告已经按照合同接受相关中国法院管辖(在“Suzhou诉Zhao案”中)。


Sophie Dawson.png

Sophie Dawson


Bird & Bird LLP Australia Offices



Matthew Mulcahy.png

Matthew Mulcahy


Bird & Bird LLP Australia Offices





刘炯 John Liu


AllBright Law Offices


Senior Partner


汤旻利 Minli Tang


AllBright Law Offices



胡晨奕 Chenyi Hu


AllBright Law Offices