District of Columbia Enacts Uniform Foreign-Country Money Judgments Recognition Act

On December 21, 2011, the District of Columbia enacted the Uniform Foreign-Country Money Judgments Recognition Act of 2011 (the “Act”). The legislation, which was introduced as Bill 19-216, was unanimously approved by the D.C. Council on its final reading in early December and was then signed by the Mayor. The Act is designated Act 19-246 and will become effective after the expiration of a 30-day period of Congressional review and publication in the D.C. Register. Upon becoming effective, the Act will be codified at D.C. Code §§ 15-361 to 15-371. [Update: The Act became effective on February 24, 2012, and is now Law 19-86.]

The preamble to the Act states that its purpose is “to provide uniform procedures for the enforcement of foreign-country money judgments, to provide that a petitioner for recognition has the [initial] burden of proving a judgment is entitled to recognition and that any respondent resisting recognition and enforcement has the burden of proof respecting denial of recognition [after the petitioner fulfills its initial burden], to revise the grounds for denying recognition of foreign-country money judgments, and to establish a statute of limitations for recognition actions.”

A detailed discussion about the background and need for the legislation, and a section-by-section analysis of the legislation, is contained in a Committee Report of the D.C. Council’s Judiciary Committee, dated October 11, 2011. The Committee Report also discusses a public hearing on the legislation which was held by the Judiciary Committee on May 31, 2011.