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BVI Court Orders Committal of Judgment Debtor Resident in Hong Kong: An Affirmation of the Commercial Court’s Pro-Enforcement Approach

March 2021 Enforcement of Judgments

In Sang Cheol Woo v Charles C Spackman, the BVI Commercial Court handed down its first written judgment on the issue of whether the Court has jurisdiction to grant a committal order against a judgment debtor resident and domiciled outside of the jurisdiction. Justice Wallbank ruled that the Court does have an inherent jurisdiction to make such an order against a personal judgment debtor over whom the Court had already established jurisdiction.

In 2011, the judgment creditor in Sang Cheol, Mr. Woo, obtained a foreign money judgment in the amount of approximately US$4.6 million plus interest (the “Korean Judgment”) against the judgment debtor, Mr. Spackman, who was an individual ordinarily resident in Hong Kong. In 2019, the judgment creditor issued a claim in the BVI in order to have the Korean Judgment recognized and enforced at common law (the “Common Law Enforcement Claim”). Permission was granted to serve the Common Law Enforcement Claim on the judgment debtor outside of the jurisdiction and thereafter a default judgment was entered against him in the BVI in excess of US$14 million on account of his failure to respond to the Common Law Enforcement Claim.

 

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BVI Court Orders Committal of Judgment Debtor Resident in Hong Kong: An Affirmation of the Commercial Court’s Pro-Enforcement Approach

 

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