Judgements passed in Guyana now enforceable in 60 countries

─ House approves Foreign Judgements (Reciprocal Enforcement) Amendment Bill 2023

The National Assembly on Thursday passed the Foreign Judgements (Reciprocal Enforcement) Amendment Bill 2023, which allows for judgements and court orders passed in Guyana to be enforceable in foreign countries, and vice versa.

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Mohabir Anil Nandlall, SC, presenting the bill, said it represents another example of the government’s objective of modernising the statutory landscape and infrastructure of Guyana.

He stressed the need for an accommodating legislative framework to support international relations, especially against the backdrop of Guyana’s growing economy, boosted by the burgeoning oil and gas sector.

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Mohabir Anil Nandlall, SC

The AG also highlighted the principle of sovereignty, which dictates that a judgement delivered in one country cannot, in the absence of international agreement, have a direct operation in another. This principle, he said, creates barriers to international trade, and this is where the Foreign Judgements Bill comes in, to promote improved international relations.

“This bill is part of that menu of modern laws that are necessary for economic development and foreign investment,” he said.

The legislation will also allow for cheaper and more efficient litigation since it removes the need for relitigating in foreign countries.

“Litigation in any part of the world is expensive, protracted and time-consuming. In the end, every litigant expects the fruit of the litigation, not only to be efficacious but also effectively enforceable as far and as wide as possible. This bill guarantees exactly that,” AG Nandlall explained.

Moreover, he clarified that the principle of reciprocity dictates that the judgements applied in one country will be applied in foreign countries in the same manner.

“Once the basis of it is reciprocity, it means that it has to apply in the same way, in accordance with the same principle, in every country across the globe.”

Meanwhile, Minister of Public Service, Sonia Parag established the importance of reciprocal enforcement mechanisms in ensuring the protection of the interests of the people and the private sector.

She said the bill creates an efficient and transparent environment for foreign relations.

“It is a critical component of Guyana’s evolution, especially with regard to accommodating foreign investment and safeguarding the interests of Guyanese who continue to expand their enterprises and transactions beyond our border,” the minister posited.

Member of Parliament, Sanjeev Datadin, also supported the bill.

The Foreign Judgements (Reciprocal Enforcement) Amendment Bill 2023 repeals the existing Foreign Judgment (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act, Cap 7:04 and the Judgments Extension Ordinance, Cap. 27.

It allows for judgements in Guyana to be applicable in some 60 countries, which includes all Commonwealth countries, China, the United States, and almost all of Guyana’s key trading partners and investors.

The bill applies to monetary and non-monetary judgements, and orders of a designated court in civil proceedings for the payment of a lump sum of money as financial provision for, or maintenance of, a spouse or a former spouse or a child or other person who is or was a dependent of another.