The main source of law on the enforcement of foreign judgments in the British Virgin Islands is legislation. These are:
- the Reciprocal Enforcement of Judgments Act (chapter 65), which deals with the registration of judgments from the High Court in England or Northern Ireland and the Court of Session in Scotland;
- the Foreign Judgments (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act 1964, which governs enforcement of judgments from certain named Commonwealth jurisdictions; and
- the Arbitration Ordinance (chapter 6), which governs the recognition of foreign arbitration awards).
Where a foreign judgment or award does not fall within the scope of any of the aforementioned legislations the common law governs the enforcement of such judgment and case law provides directions on enforceability.
Before a foreign judgment becomes enforceable in the BVI it must first be recognised or registered in the BVI so that it can take effect as if it were, in fact, a judgment of a BVI court. The claimant must first make an application to the High Court, upon which the High Court will make a determination on whether the foreign judgment meets the specific requirements for registration. Once registered the foreign judgment takes effect as a judgment obtained in a BVI court. As such, the judgment is capable of being enforced in the same manner as a local judgment, for example, by means of a charging order or appointment of a liquidator.
If you are seeking legal counsel on foreign judgment in the British Virgin Islands, please contact us directly. Or, download the attached PDF “Getting the Deal Through – Enforcement of Foreign Judgments,” for a detailed Q&A regarding foreign judgments in the BVI.