Civil judgments in matrimonial and family cases are to be mutually recognized and enforced in Mainland and Hong Kong
On 20th June 2017, the Supreme People’s Court and Department of Justice of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region jointly issued the Arrangement on Reciprocal Recognition and Enforcement of Civil Judgments in Matrimonial and Family Cases by the Courts in the Mainland and in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (“the Arrangement”). According to the Arrangement, subject to several requirements, certain effective judgments rendered by courts in Mainland and Hong Kong are to be mutually recognized and enforced by the other.
Some important points are summarized as follows:
1. Scope of the application of the Arrangement
The Arrangement is applicable to the recognition and enforcement of an effective civil judgment rendered by a court in the Mainland or Hong Kong. It also applies mutatis mutandis when it comes to a divorce certificate issued by a civil affairs authority in the Mainland, divorce agreement or memorandum of dissolution of a marriage under Parts V and VA of the Marriage Reform Ordinance.
2. The definition of matrimonial and family cases
For cases in the Mainland, it refers to a division of the property of the parties, dissolution of a marriage, property disputes after divorce, validity of a marriage, annulment of a marriage and so on.
For cases in Hong Kong, it includes decrees absolute of divorce made under Part III of the Matrimonial Causes Ordinance, decrees absolute of nullity made under Part IV of the Matrimonial Causes Ordinance and so on.
3. Which court
In general, the applicant applies to the intermediate People’s Court at the place of domicile or habitual residence of the applicant, or the domicile or habitual residence of the respondent or the place where the property of the respondent is situated in Mainland; and in the case of Hong Kong, with the District Court.
4. Documents to be summited by the applicant
The documents needed when applying for the recognition and enforcement under the Arrangement for an applicant include a copy of the effective judgment, a certificate issued by the court which made the judgment certifying that the judgment is an effective judgment in a matrimonial and family case, if it is a judgment by default, evidence that the court has summoned the parties concerned and a notarized copy of the identity certificate.