Foreign and Interprovincial Judgments

If an individual is successful in a legal action in another province or country it is possible for them to have that judgement recognized by the BC court system. The law regarding foreign and interprovincial judgements is complex but it is possible in some cases to use the same enforcement mechanisms available as if the original judgement had been rendered by a BC court.

If an individual has a foreign judgement they have two options available to them to enforce it in BC. The first is to start a new legal action in BC using the foreign judgement as the cause of action. This means they rely upon the foreign judgement itself to start and pursue a new action with BC and are seeking in their action that the foreign judgement is recognized. The defences to such an action are limited but include defences regarding the procedural fairness of the foreign court and how the foreign judgement was decided.

The second option is to have the foreign judgement registered in accordance with the Court Order Enforcement Act, RSBC 1996, C78. This option will be available if the foreign judgement is from a reciprocating foreign jurisdiction and was not obtained by default. A reciprocating foreign jurisdiction is one that recognizes BC judgements and has been declared to be a reciprocating jurisdiction by the BC government. Section 29-39 of the Court Order Enforcement Act sets out the steps that a party must take to apply to have the foreign judgement registered. Upon registration a judgement of a foreign court because as enforceable as if the judgement had been granted by a BC court or tribunal.

The process to have a legal judgement from another province recognized in BC is streamlined and in many cases not does require a hearing of the application and only the filing of the out of province judgement. The Enforcement of Canadian Judgements and Decrees Act, SBC 2003, C29 only requires that a certified true copy of the judgement from the registry that granted the judgement be filed with the registry of the Supreme Court of BC. Upon registration the judgment may be enforced as if it was an order or judgement of the Supreme Court of BC.