New Bill for the Reciprocal Recognition, Registration and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments

The Act aims to facilitate the reciprocal recognition, registration, and enforcement of foreign judgments in Sri Lanka. It repeals the Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Ordinance (Chapter 93) and the Reciprocal Enforcement of Judgments Ordinance (Chapter 94).

Key Provisions

  1. Application and Scope
    • The Act applies to judgments from foreign courts that are final and conclusive.
    • It covers various scenarios including the recognition of judgments relating to civil matters, except for certain exceptions such as judgments related to tax, fines, or penalties.
  2. Conditions for Recognition
    • Judgments are recognized if certain conditions are met, such as residency or business presence of the judgment-debtor in the original court’s country at the time of the proceedings.
  3. Application Process
    • Applicants must submit an application within ten years of the final judgment, with a possibility of extension if valid reasons for delay are provided.
    • The registering court follows a summary procedure to recognize and register the foreign judgment without allowing oral evidence.
  4. Enforcement and Appeal
    • Once registered, a foreign judgment has the same effect as a local judgment.
    • Appeals are allowed only in specific circumstances, particularly relating to judgments on marriage dissolution or annulment.
  5. General Provisions
    • Provisions are made for costs, service of documents, and translation requirements.
    • The Minister has the authority to make rules to support the implementation of the Act.
  6. Repeal and Transition
    • The Act repeals previous ordinances but maintains the validity of existing orders and pending applications under the repealed laws until new orders are made.
  7. Jurisdiction
    • The District Court of Colombo or other designated courts have jurisdiction over applications for the recognition, registration, and enforcement of foreign judgments.
  8. Definitions and Interpretation
    • Key terms are defined, including “judgment,” “judgment-creditor,” and “judgment-debtor.”


The Act provides a comprehensive framework for the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments in Sri Lanka, ensuring legal certainty and reciprocity in international legal matters.

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