Page: Enforcement of Foreign Judgements
The enforcement of foreign judgments is based essentially on legislation which may or may not require reciprocity. In the absence of legislations, the courts have traditionally in Common Law countries adopted “comity” as the main
principle for the enforcement of foreign judgments.
Comity, in the legal sense, is neither a matter of absolute obligation on the one hand, nor a mere courtesy and good will upon the other. But it is the recognition which one nation allows within its territory to the legislative, executive, or judicial acts of another nation, having due regard both to international duty and convenience, and to the rights of its own citizens or of other persons who are under the protection of its laws
That definition of comity as the basis for the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments has been defined more recently as follows:
Comity is a recognition which one nation extends within its own territory to the legislative, executive, or judicial acts of another. It is not a rule of law, but one of practice, convenience, and expediency. Although more than mere courtesy and accommodation, comity does not achieve the force of an imperative or obligation. Rather, it is a nation’s expression of understanding which demonstrates due regard both to international duty and convenience and to the rights of persons protected by its own laws. Comity should be withheld only when its acceptance would be contrary or prejudicial to the interest of the nation called upon to give it effect: Somportex Limited v. Philadelphia Chewing Gum Corp., 453 F.2d 435, 440”