Asian Principles for the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments


Globalization no doubt increases the number and size of cross-border transactions, which is likely to lead to a concomitant rise in cross-border litigation.

In this regard, the recognition and enforcement of judgments made by the courts of one jurisdiction in the courts of another has particular significance. The greater portability of judgments within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its major trading partners such as Australia, China, India, Japan and South Korea will facilitate cross-border transactions by lowering transaction costs and associated legal frictions among jurisdictions.

The project was first raised on 21 January 2016 by the Honourable the Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon in his Key Note Address at the Doing Business Across Asia: Legal Convergence in an Asian Century conference held in Singapore. His Honour stated:

Let me finally outline three examples of the sort of projects that the ABLI could undertake subject to the approval and further directions of the Board of Governors. The first is one that … would focus on the harmonisation of the rules on the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments in Asia including, of course, ASEAN and its major trade partners such as Australia, China and India. If the Board of Governors sanctions this, the aim would be to publish, within a fairly ambitious timescale of two to three years, a product that contains a comprehensive review and discussion on the treatment of foreign judgments in Asia. This could be published as a handbook, a best practices guide, a core text, a model law or a draft treaty. Whatever the precise form of this output, it would provide a springboard for discussions on how to promote harmonisation of the rules governing recognition and enforcement of judgements. Both the commentary and the discussions on the law should also serve as valuable reference points for judges and practitioners alike.

The project involves two phases:

  • Phase one: A mapping exercise of the rules for the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments in ASEAN, Australia, China, India, Japan and South Korea. 
  • Phase two: An examination of the output of Phase one to determine common principles directed at judges and practitioners, but also legislators and policy-makers in Asia.

Phase one: Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Asia

In December 2017, ABLI released its first publication in its Legal Convergence Series titled Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Asia (Judgements Compendium). The Compendium was launched during the Honourable the Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon’s Response at the Opening of Singapore’s Legal Year in 2018.

Publications ForeignJudgments

Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Asia (PDF)
December 2017
by Adeline Chong (editor)

The Judgments Compendium comprises 15 concise reports (Jurisdictional Reports) written by legal scholars and legal practitioners in the respective countries (Jurisdictional Reporters), identifying the existing recognition and enforcement of foreign judgment rules of the ten ASEAN countries and their major APAC trading partners.

The publication is of utility to lawyers and businesses in the region as it provides an overview of how foreign judgments in civil and commercial matters are recognised in different jurisdictions in Asia and the requirements which need to be fulfilled for a foreign judgment to be enforced in these jurisdictions.

Translations of the Judgments Compendium

In August 2018, Bun & Associates (ប៊ុន និង​សហការី) produced a Khmer translation of the Cambodia chapter of the Judgments Compendium.

In October 2018, Allen & Gledhill (Myanmar) produced a Burmese translation of the Myanmar chapter of the Judgments Compendium.

In July 2020, the simplified Chinese translation of the Judgments Compendium 外国判决在亚洲的承认与执行 (ISBN: 978-7-5197-4024-5) was published by Law Press China.

Phase two: Asian Principles for the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments

The Judgments Compendium acts as a springboard for phase two which considers whether sufficient areas of commonality exist for convergence in this area of the law and how convergence may best be achieved.

In September 2020, ABLI released the Asian Principles for the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments (Asian Principles). The 13 overarching principles which comprise the Asian Principles have been translated into Indonesian, Burmese, Khmer, Chinese, Japanese, Lao, Korean, Thai and Vietnamese.

The Asian Principles is based on the leading English law textbook on the conflict of laws, Dicey, Morris & Collins on the Conflict of Laws, with accompanying commentary and examples.


The Project considers the laws in each of the ten ASEAN member states in addition to five Asia-Pacific states with which ASEAN has existing free trade agreements. 

They are Australasia, Brunei, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam.


Consistent with ABLI’s Asia-centric focus, 94% of the 16 contributors of the project are from Asia, with an additional 6% from Australia. The project also brings together both the academia and legal practitioners, with 63% of contributors being academics and 38% being legal practitioners.

Refer to our Contributors page for the full list of Jurisdictional Reporters and Authors of the Asian Principles.

Project Lead and General Editor

Dr Adeline CHONG is an Associate Professor of Law at the School of Law of Singapore Management University. Her research areas are private international law, equity and trusts and restitution.

Project Adviser

The Honourable Justice Andrew Phang, Judge of the Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court of Singapore is adviser to the project.

Key Milestones

  • 3 September 2020, ABLI launches the Asian Principles
  • 1 April 2019, ABLI is invited to participate as an Observer at the Twenty-Second Diplomatic Session of the Hague Conference on Private International Law.
  • 27 July 2018, Project Lead, Dr Adeline Chong, presents the project at the 20th Congress of the International Academy of Comparative Law
  • 8 January 2018, ABLI launches the Judgments Compendium, following its publication in December 2017
  • August 2016, ABLI’s Board of Governors approves the project.
  • 21 January 2016, The Honourable the Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon proposes the project at the Doing Business Across Asia: Legal Convergence in an Asian Century conference held in Singapore.