Say person A (a US citizen) makes a monetary demand on person B (a non-US citizen) over a dealing in the US whose juristiction is the US. Assume that B a citizen of, and resides in, a "1st world" country that is "friendly" with the US. Say A sues B in a US court and succeeds. Can A then take legal action in B's country to compel him to satify the order made by the US court?

Further, if the B suspects he might lose were the matter to go to court, could B preemptively organise that he have no US assets (by moving any money he does have there offshore) and volutarily declare himself bankrupt in the US (being now unable to pay his debts) to avoid have the law suit?


2 Answers 2


The US does not have any treaties or conventions regarding reciprocal recognition and enforcement of judgments. Someone seeking this abroad is subject to the domestic law of the country. In addition to such domestic laws, decisions are made based on the principles of international comity, reciprocity, and/or res judicata.

Basically, foreign countries reserve the right to have their court system examine judgments, at their discretion, to determine whether it should recognize and enforce the judgment. Usually, courts will look to make sure the defendant had proper notice, the court that issued the judgment had jurisdiction, that a final and binding judgment was issued, and that nothing in the judgment would be against the public policy of the country being asked to recognize and enforce the judgment. Some countries require reciprocity with the requesting countries courts. International comity is essentially a maintenance of friendliness between nations and not, for example, intervening in another country's internal affairs. Often, so as not to interfere with another country's internal affairs, courts will recognize and enforce the other country's court's judgment within its own jurisdiction.


Yes - maybe

It will depend on the law in country B. For example, this is what the Attorney-General's department says about the law in Australia.

A person can engage in asset stripping, however, they cannot declare bankruptcy in one jurisdiction while they still have assets in another. Notwithstanding, if a plaintiff believes that a defendant may do this they can seek to have their assets frozen.

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