oa Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - Roma non locuta est: the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments in South Africa

Volume 16, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0010-4051



As South Africa makes the slow transformation to a first world economy, as the national states overcome their economic teething troubles, so too must the network of South African trading activity expand. Parties may choose as the proper law of their contract the law of X or Y, or a South African company may export potentially hazardous products to Z. Party B breaches his contract, Party D commits a tort. In either case judgment may properly be obtained abroad and the plaintiff may seek to enforce it in South Africa. May he enforce it, and if so, what defences may a South African defendant raise? One might in all innocence assume that the answer to the questions posed above and thus the criteria for recognising and enforcing foreign judgments in South Africa could be stated without difficulty. Unfortunately for litigants this is not the case. A dearth of authority, conceptual confusion and the paralysing hand of the parliamentary draftsman have transformed the apparently simple into the seemingly intricate. This article attempts to state the law, without misstating the lacunae.

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