A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF THE ENFORCEMENT OF FOREIGN JUDGMENT IN NIGERIA AND UNITED KINGDOM: A CASE FOR CYBER JURISDICTION
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
A wise saying has it that, no man is an island, hence human interaction becomes necessary. The dynamic nature of this social interaction being what is occasionally brings about disputes or disagreements. To mend these disputes or disagreements, civilized societies in a bid to make life meaningful put some instruments in place. One of such instruments is law. By the instrumentality of law, an aggrieved party normally goes to court of competent jurisdiction2 seeking for redress. One of the duties of court in this circumstance is to make order or declaration as per the rights and the duties of the parties involved.
The matter does not however end with the court pronouncing its judgment, recognition and enforcement of the court‟s judgment are the next procedures. Apart from declaratory judgments that are not enforceable, other forms of judgment8 may need some form of compliance or the other in order to be realized. Otherwise, the successful litigant, called the judgment creditor, may have secured a pyrrhic victory.
If the party against whom judgment is given, called the judgment debtor willingly complies with the terms of the judgment, there will be no problem. But more often than not, the judgment debtor does not willingly comply with the terms of the judgment. Thus, there arises the need to compel him to do so through execution or enforcement procedure. This conforms to the general principle of law that judgment or order of the court must as far as possible be obeyed or complied with. Otherwise the authority of the court would be diminished and the legal order would suffer a breakdown.
Again, if the enforcement or execution is to be carried out, in the jurisdiction or country in which the judgment is given, no much problem would arise. But a much more challenging circumstance showcases itself where the judgment creditor only after his success in the case realizes that, the fruit of his labor has to be satisfied abroad.
The question is, can judgment given by the court of one country be enforced by the court of another? This necessitates the study of feasibility of enforcing foreign judgment. Enforcement of foreign judgment is not a new phenomenon. It has long existed as a topic in the sphere of private international law. Besides the Rule of Common law, it is regulated by bilateral treaties or multilateral international conventions. This area of the law has gained prominence, at least of late, because of the advent of the internet and the age of globalization. Increase in cross border business transactions would naturally cause an upshot in litigation. This in turn would require national or municipal courts to decide whether a judgment or order obtained in a foreign country should be recognized or allowed to be enforced in their own country.