January 2020, the Indian Ministry of Law and Justice issued a notification in the Official Gazette declaring that the United Arab Emirates be a “reciprocating territory” for the enforcement of foreign judgements under the Indian Code of Civil Procedure, 1908. This means that the UAE court’s judgement will be now recognized and directly enforced in India. Before the declaration in 2020, the process of enforcing a UAE judgement in India was expensive and time-consuming. This is a significant development that creates exciting opportunities for all UAE companies and creditors who provide banking and financial services to recover debts and enforce a judgement against those who fled to India with outstanding unpaid debts.
In 1999, a bilateral treaty was agreed upon between India and the UAE for judicial cooperation and mutual recognition and enforcement of judgements through which both countries aim to facilitate an efficient and simplified legal process. However, the full benefit of the treaty had not been able to avail by the civil judgement holders based in UAE, since the legal processes were not fully implemented. This has happened because the Indian Central Government failed to declare the UAE as a “reciprocating territory” and also fails to specify the list of “superior courts” within the UAE. Due to this failure, the UAE civil judgement holders were forced to commence fresh lawsuits to obtain new judgements from the Indian courts. This led to an expensive, time-consuming and uncertain for those who are seeking financial recovery from debtors having assets located in India.
After declaring the UAE as a “reciprocating territory” by the Indian Central Government in the Official Gazette, now the judgements of the UAE courts can be directly enforced in India as if they are the judgements of the Indian courts. Therefore the judgements of the UAE courts can be enforced immediately in the Indian courts without the necessity to obtain new civil judgements from the Indian courts. However, the new process is not automatic. The civil judgement holder will be required to file an execution petition in the competent court in India. And also, it is required to produce a certified copy of the UAE court judgement along with a certificate from the UAE “superior courts” confirming the judgement made has been satisfied.
The notification published in the Official Gazette recognizes the following courts as the “superior courts” in the UAE:
Now the question is regarding the judgements issued before the date of this notification. Whether it will be recognized or not? However now the civil judgement holders in the UAE will no longer need to file a fresh suit which will help them to save a lot of money and time and also bring certainty for financial recovery. Similarly, the UAE Civil Procedure Code provides that the judgement of the foreign courts will be enforced in the UAE courts if the originating foreign courts enforce the judgement of the UAE courts. To know more about the legalities reach out to Fotislaw.