Enforcement of foreign judgments in the aftermath of Brexit

There is no denying that Brexit has impacted the United Kingdom (UK) in a number of ways, and how particularly it has impacted the legal industry.

From issues regarding citizenship, EU sovereignty and trade more generally, there has also been an impact regarding foreign judgments, and the enforcement of them. This article will summarise the enforcement options available to a party in whose favour a judgment was made in another country. It should be noted however, that typically these enforcement options are only for monetary awards.

The Options:

Administration of Justice Act 1920
This Act will be the best option for judgment creditors from most Commonwealth countries, British overseas territories, Cyprus or Malta. The judgment creditor can apply to register the judgment in the UK in the High Court of England at any time within 12 months of the judgment being entered into in the foreign jurisdiction. There are caveats at s.9(2) of the Act regarding when a judgment will not be registered, but the decision to be registered is a matter for the judge to decide. As this is primary legislation, if the judgment creditor has this option it would be the most preferable out of the others here.

Bilateral Treaties
This is another source of law that governs enforcing a judgment in the United Kingdom. If the UK has made a treaty with another country regarding recognition of judgments, then this will allow a judgment to be enforced. The treaty wording depends on how the judgment creditor would go about this, but typically they would have to register their judgment in the UK within 12 months of it being entered into.

The Hague Convention
The 2005 Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements is an international treaty under which the member states to it recognise and enforce judgments in terms of a contract’s jurisdiction clause. This means that parties are free to choose where their case (if any) is heard and judged. The UK is now a member of the Hague Convention, separate from their prior membership to it only through the EU.

To enforce a judgment under this convention, it must be registered in the UK ‘without delay’. There are various grounds for refusal under Article 9, but the key test as to whether it is registrable is from Article 8(3) which requires the foreign judgment must have been enforceable in the jurisdiction that it was awarded in, at the time it was awarded. The application for the judgment to be registered comes from Part 74 of the Civil Procedure Rules.

Common Law
Cases which do not fall under the Hague Convention, a bilateral treaty or any other English statute will be governed by the common law. In order for the English courts to have the power to enforce a foreign judgment, the judgement must be for a definite sum, be final and not have been issued in respect of taxes, penalties or multiple damages awards. The definition of ‘final’ in this context was explored in the case of Aeroflot-Russian Airlines v Berezovsky [2014] EWCA Civ 20 as being one that precludes the other party from bringing fresh proceedings in their foreign jurisdiction.

What happens next?

Once the judgment is registered in the English courts, the judgment creditor will be able to enforce it in the same way as if it had been entered into in the courts of England and Wales in the first place. This gives a variety of options for the creditor, which, should you need an assistance with executing, one of our team would be happy to help with.

Darcy Still, Trainee, July 2022

Underwood & Co attending the AIJA Annual Congress 2022

Elena will be organising and will moderate the TRADE Commission panel on “Asia as avant-garde: new distribution forms – the rise of social media as sales channel”. She will also be speaking at the Litigation Commission panel on “(Virtual) Dispute resolution in Asia”.

If you are attending or would like to meet up while she is at the Congress, drop her a line at ekadelburger@underwoodco.com

Reducing the rising number of menopause employment tribunal claims

That much is evident from recent findings of the Menopause Experts Group. By analysing court records for 2021, it was found that 23 employment tribunal cases cited menopause. This is a 44% increase on the 16 cases in 2020. Of these 23 cases, 16 included claims for disability discrimination, 14 included claims for unfair dismissal, and 10 included claims of sex discrimination. It is therefore not surprising that the Women and Equalities Select Committee earlier this year heard evidence from employment lawyers as to whether the menopause should be a protected characteristic for discrimination claims.

Symptoms of the menopause can include fatigue, anxiety, and difficulties with concentration memory.

Menopause becoming a protected characteristic will provide a framework for employees to bring related discrimination cases in the employment tribunal, remove the split and confusion about whether claims are disability or sex discrimination cases, and protect menopausal women from discrimination at work, but evidently employers need to do much more before it gets to that stage.

In May 2022, the Fawcett Society conducted a survey (commissioned by Channel 4) of 4,000 women aged between 45 and 55. It found that 8 in 10 of those surveyed receive no support from their employers for the menopause, and 1 in 10 left work as a result of their symptoms.

Towards the end of 2021, to coincide with World Menopause Day, a survey conducted for menopause expert, Dr Louise Newson, who runs the not-for-profit Newson Health Research and Education, overwhelmingly found that their menopausal symptoms had a negative impact on their careers. It was found that many women were forced to take off work, not apply for or refuse promotion opportunities, and even leave their jobs. The lack of support offered by their employers was cited as the principal reason for this.

Employers should themselves be educated on, and offer training to their employees on, the symptoms, signs, and side-effects of the menopause in order to better understand the experiences of many women and to be able to offer them the appropriate support. Employers should also adopt a menopause policy to set out best practice when dealing with workplace issues relating to the menopause.

While it is expected that the employment tribunal cases citing menopause will increase again for 2022 as awareness of the subject grows, employers can and need to do more to manage and bring down this figure by increasing their understanding and employing appropriate measures for supporting their affected employees.

William Gubbins, Associate, June 2022

Interview with our associate Oliver Whitehead

We interview Oliver Whitehead, a solicitor in our Property Department on his career so far and what it’s like to work at Underwoods.

When did you join Underwood and how has your time been here since you first started?

I joined Underwoods as a trainee in 2018 and qualified as a solicitor into the Property Department in 2020. I have enjoyed my time here both as a trainee and a solicitor – as we are a small firm in terms of number of solicitors you are very much involved in transactions as a trainee and junior solicitor. This exposure to good quality work and a substantive role in transactions alongside significant client contact means you do not feel as if you are solely involved in matters in an admin role or just in the background and has helped me gain more practical experience than I would have expected at a similar level of post-qualification experience in a larger firm. Obviously qualifying in the middle of a pandemic was a challenge, but the pandemic has lead to adaptations in the way we work and the way key stakeholders in property transactions interact, which I think overall have had a positive impact on the sector.

You practise within the Property/Real Estate Department of the firm. What made you choose this field, and what do you enjoy in particular?

Property/Real Estate is such a broad field, I think overall I chose this area of practice as it is pretty fundamental to private and commercial life in this country. Whether you are buying a house or an investment property or starting your own company there is usually a property aspect to be considered. It is also an area of practice which really challenges you to provide excellent legal and commercial advice as quite often you will find a ‘quirk’ in a matter which requires both excellent technical legal advice as well as understanding the impact on the client and the commercial background.

What advice would you give to future trainees?

Listen to senior colleagues, say yes to opportunities and get involved. If you’re willing to roll up your sleeves you can get substantively involved in transactions that in other firms you may not ordinarily be exposed to; there is simply no substitute for gaining experience by doing rather than watching.

What do you enjoy doing outside the office, what keeps you motivated and happy?

Outside of the office I have two passions, golf and wine. I am a keen, if slightly wayward, golfer so you can quite regularly find me out on a golf course persuading a small ball to go vaguely in the direction I intended. I am also a very keen wine taster, I currently hold the Wines & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) Advanced qualification (with distinction) and am studying for the WSET Diploma, which is a professional wine qualification, so alongside legal advice I am quite happy to dispense wine advice too!

If you could take out anyone for a special dinner, who would you take?

I would have to say my fiancé just in case she reads this! If I could pick one figure from history to have dinner with it would have to be the late author Douglas Adams, I think the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was a work of genius and his later writing on conservation was ahead of its time.


If you were not a solicitor, what would you have been?

Prior to becoming a solicitor I was in academic research in the field of international relations, so probably at a think tank writing about something terribly esoteric.

Underwood & Co speaks at international Italian webinar

It was organised by AIGA Bologna section together with AIJA (International Young Lawyers’ Association) of which Elena is a member.

It was a useful and interesting panel discussion and comparison allowing us all to learn about how and what solicitors charge for their time in different jurisdictions which is ultimately useful information we can provide when directing clients to colleagues in a different jurisdiction.

The webinar was held in Italian and the panel consisted of lawyers from various jurisdictions such as France, Germany and Italy and was attended by more than 500 participants.

Darcy Still joins the firm as a trainee solicitor

Darcy Still joined the firm as a trainee solicitor at the end of March 2022.

She is currently working within the Property Department, where she acts on a variety of both commercial and residential transactions, for various different clients including landlords, tenants, borrowers and lenders.

Darcy completed her law degree at the University of Winchester, and then went on to complete her LPC with a masters in Professional Legal Practice at The University of Law in Guildford in 2021. She has a particular interests in the corporate and commercial aspects of transactions.

Patrick Cox joins the firm as a trainee solicitor

Patrick studied Law at the University of York before completing the LLM Legal Practice (Solicitors) course (a combined LPC and Masters in Law) at BPP University, Holborn.

Whilst studying at BPP, Patrick worked as a paralegal in the real estate department of a regional firm in Kent and then as a knowledge management paralegal in the real estate department of an international firm in London.

Having graduated from BPP, Patrick gained experience in the construction industry, working as a paralegal for two London-based firms, before joining Underwood & Co.


Underwood & Co at the SKIPIM property networking event

This event was held for property professionals who were not attending the annual MIPIM conference in the south of France to network and discuss the latest developments in the industry.

Attended by a mix of solicitors, lenders, developers and intermediaries it was a good opportunity to speak to clients and other professionals.

Underwood & Co invited to speak at Naples Bar Society

It was held on 2 December 2021 organised by the Naples Bar Society section together with AIJA (International Young Lawyers’ Association) of which Elena is an active member.

The webinar was held in Italian and the panel consisted of lawyers from numerous jurisdictions and was well attended by many lawyers in Italy.