Enforcement of court judgments—whether domestic or foreign— in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has often been considered both challenging and unpredictable. This chapter outlines the procedures involved in enforcing domestic and foreign court judgments in the PRC, the challenges that are often faced and how the enforcement regime has evolved in recent years.
Parties who have been involved in China-related proceedings will be aware that obtaining a favourable court ruling is only half the battle won. If a party refuses to comply with a judgment, further steps need to be taken to enforce that judgment in order for the party to obtain the benefit of the judgment. In the PRC, this often requires considerable perseverance and familiarity with local conditions. Without this, the judgment lacks any practical value.
In the PRC, enforcing court judgments has often been considered both challenging and unpredictable, with respect to both domestic judgments, being those obtained in the courts of the PRC, and foreign judgments obtained in other jurisdictions (which for purposes of this chapter includes judgments rendered by the courts of Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan).
More recently, the government and courts of the PRC have made considerable efforts in improving the enforceability of court judgments in the country. These efforts include the introduction of various mechanisms and databases effectively to investigate, trace, preserve and auction assets held by the persons subject to enforcement, as well as imposing restrictions and controls on those who fail to comply with enforcement obligations. While these developments have resulted in some improvements in the challenging enforcement environment, it remains to be seen whether these efforts will be strengthened and promoted more widely, especially at the lower level courts.