Readers, you may be interested in a new paper by practitioner Oluwaseun Ajayi on the recognition of foreign money judgments that are connected with criminal proceedings. It was published in the February 2016 edition of the Banking Law Journal. Unfortunately, the publisher, LexisNexis A.S. Pratt, refused the author’s request for reprint permission, so I cannot provide a link to a copy of the paper here. Tsk, tsk, LexisNexis A.S. Pratt.
There is a general rule that foreign judgments for fines or penalties cannot be recognized under the UFCMJRA and similar laws, and that caution is warranted even if nothing in US or customary international law forbids recognition more generally. In the paper, Ajayi looks at some US cases that come close to the line—for example, criminal fines intended to provide restitution to the victim, or an award of attorney’s fees whose policy is to deter frivolous litigation. Courts are, of course, more willing to recognize such judgments than they are judgments that are clearly punitive or that clearly fall far from the line dividing public and private law. The author’s take is that further flexibility would be a good thing. I am not so sure it is a good idea to go too far down that road—no one, I take it, wants our courts to become revenue agents for a foreign tax authority, and I’m sure no foreign courts are particularly eager to lend a hand to the Internal Revenue Service! But check out the paper and draw your own conclusions.
The new Ristau’s International Judicial Assistance is a useful one-volume overview of the field for practitioners.