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Enforcement of Canadian Judgment In Arizona 2018-05-03T00:36:34+00:00
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Have you won a monetary judgment from an out-of-state court and do you want to be able to collect on the judgment in the state of Arizona? Denton Peterson can help get your foreign judgment domesticated so it is enforceable in AZ
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I Have a Judgment from a Provincial or Superior Court in Canada and the Judgment Debtor lives in Arizona. How can I Collect on the Judgment?

In today’s global economy, dealing with assets in multiple countries is becoming increasingly common, especially with neighboring countries like the United States and Canada. Accordingly, it may become necessary to pursue a judgment debtor in Arizona to collect on a judgment obtained in Canada. The Arizona state legislature has adopted the Uniform Foreign-Country Money Judgments Recognition Act in order to address and remedy this exact situation. Even with the Act, collecting on a judgment from Canada is a complex process. If you have a judgment from a provincial or superior court in Canada and are considering collecting in Arizona, please speak with one of our experienced attorneys today.

History of the Uniform Foreign-Country Money Judgments Recognition Act

Hilton v. Guyot established the fundamental basis for recognizing and enforcing foreign judgments in the U.S. In the Hilton case, a federal district court held that a French court judgment was enforceable on a U.S. defendant without any retrial. While the Hilton decision made enforcing foreign judgments possible, enforcing such judgments in the U.S. remained arduous, expensive, and uncertain due to the lack of legislation and clear common law principles. In 1962, following the example of the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act (1948), the Uniform Law Commissioners announced the Uniform Foreign Money-Judgments Recognition Act. While the 1948 Act allowed for states to enforce judgments made in other states, the Foreign Money-Judgments Recognition Act provided for enforcement of foreign country judgments in the United States state courts. Arizona has adopted this uniform law through Title 12 of the Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) as the Uniform Foreign-Country Money Judgments Recognition Act and it remains good law today.

Can my Judgment be recognized in Arizona under the Uniform Foreign-Country Money Judgments Recognition Act?

Before attempting to register and enforce your Canadian judgment in an Arizona court, you must decide if the Arizona courts will actually recognize the foreign judgment. As a plaintiff attempting to enforce the judgment, you have the burden of establishing that such judgment should be recognized under Arizona law. The following statutory conditions must be met for recognition to apply under the Uniform Foreign-Country Money Judgments Recognition Act:

Foreign Judgment must be Final

an my Judgment be recognized in Arizona under the Uniform Foreign-Country Money Judgments Recognition ActPursuant to Arizona Law, only judgments that are “final, conclusive and enforceable” in the country where the judgment is rendered may be enforceable in Arizona. Finality of the judgment means that the court resolved all issues in dispute and settled the parties’ rights with respect to those issues. As long as the judgment rendered by the court in Canada is final and enforceable in Canada, it would qualify for domestication under the Act.

Foreign Judgment must be for Monetary Damages

History of the Uniform Foreign-Country Money Judgments Recognition ActA judgment rendered by the Canadian court must grant or deny the recovery of a sum of money to be enforceable in Arizona. Judgments for injunctive relief or a judgment for taxes, a fine, criminal penalty, or a judgment for support in a family matter are not enforceable under the Act. For recognition of family matter related judgments, see Domestic Relations Judgments section at the end of this article.

Filing a Foreign Judgment

If the Uniform Foreign-Country Money Judgments Recognition Act applies to your foreign judgment (meaning that it is final and for monetary damages), then you can proceed to register the judgment in Arizona. This is sometimes referred to as the domestication process. In order to start this application process, you will need to file an application for registration of the foreign-country judgment together with an authenticated copy (also called exemplified copy or triple-seal copy) of the foreign judgment with the clerk’s office of any superior court in Arizona. To receive the authenticated copy of your judgment, you will need to contact the foreign court that originally issued the judgment and receive the authenticated copy of the judgment from that court. Additionally, the clerk’s office of the Arizona superior court also requires that you include several other documents in your application, including: an affidavit substantiating the foreign judgment, notice of filing the foreign judgment, a civil cover sheet, and notice to the debtor of filing the foreign judgment, to name a few.

Under the law, the Arizona court may deny recognition of the judgment only for reasons such as:

  • The Canadian court did not have jurisdiction over the defendant or the subject matter of the dispute;
  • The defendant did not receive notice in sufficient time to defend the lawsuit;
  • The judgment was obtained by fraud; or
  • The underlying cause of action is repugnant to Arizona public policy.

Once the authenticated copy of the foreign judgment is filed, the court will treat the judgment as an Arizona judgment for purpose of collection. This means that you can record the domesticated judgment in any Arizona county and that it will be a lien on any real property owned by the judgment debtor in the county in which it is recorded. At this point, you will be able to start any collection process available under law, such as garnishment of earnings and other assets, writs of execution, etc.

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Domestic Relations Judgments Recognized Under a Different Statute

While the Uniform Foreign-Country Money Recognition Act does not apply to a foreign judgment that is “for divorce, support or maintenance or other judgment rendered in connection with domestic relations,” it is still possible to register a foreign-country domestic relations judgment for enforcement in Arizona under A.R.S. 25-1302.

In order to register the judgment for enforcement, you must send a letter to the court in Arizona requesting registration and enforcement along with:

  • Two copies, including one certified copy, of the court order/judgment to be registered;
  • A sworn statement by you as the person requesting registration showing the amount due on the judgment;
  • The name of the judgment debtor and, if known, that person’s social security number, address, employer information, and a description and location of any property they own.

Once this information is provided to the court in Arizona and the judgment is filed with the court, you will be able to start collecting on the judgment in Arizona. While current and future payments on foreign child support are collected automatically, this is not the case with previous arrears judgments rendered in connection with domestic relations. These are the general procedural steps for registering and collecting on a domestic relations related Canadian judgment in Arizona. Our attorneys have already fought these battles for our clients, helping them obtain the money they deserve.

Tips for Success Before You Begin

  • When bringing a claim against an Arizona defendant, it is critical that you remember just how distinct Arizona courts are from provincial and superior Canadian courts. Carefully planning your steps with an experienced attorney before drafting your court documents will help you avoid many pitfalls and increase your chances of getting a full recovery.
  • An Arizona court cannot take jurisdiction over a claim unless the Arizona court has jurisdiction over the defendant. Determining jurisdiction over a defendant is based on a number of complicated factors, including the defendant’s contacts with Arizona. As to personal jurisdiction in the Canadian court, if a defendant debtor can prove that the Canadian court that determined the original judgment, lacked personal jurisdiction, then the Arizona courts will not enforce the judgment, even if it was final. Understanding the personal jurisdiction of both parties before filing in Arizona is essential to figuring out how successful you will be in obtaining recovery.
  • Figure out what assets the debtor has and where they are located before initiating any filing procedures to enforce the judgment in Arizona. Depending on the assets that the debtor has available in Arizona and other U.S. states, it might be more advantageous to file in another state.
  • Make sure you understand how to properly write and file an affidavit with the clerk of the court, including proof of proper notice of any domestication proceedings mailed to the debtor. If the affidavit is not executed correctly or the debtor does not receive proper notice, then you could be statutorily prevented from collecting on your judgment in Arizona.

Here at Denton Peterson, our experienced attorneys are prepared to help you collect on the money that is rightfully yours. If you have a judgment from a Canadian or other foreign court that needs to be collected on, give us a call today.

Mesa Location


1930 N Arboleda #200
Mesa, AZ 85213

Office: 480-325-9900
Email: service@dentonpeterson.com

Scottsdale Location


7272 E Indian School Rd #540-132
Scottsdale, AZ 85251

Office: 480-325-9919
Email: service@dentonpeterson.com