09 April 2018

Enforcement and a mere $999 trillion

The national Attorney-General's Department has released a consultation paper regarding recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments.

The paper states
Through the Hague Conference on Private International Law, the Australian Attorney-General’s Department (AGD) is currently engaged in negotiations on behalf of Australia for a draft Convention that is intended to establish uniform rules for the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments in civil or commercial matters (the Hague Conference Judgments Project).
The draft Convention aims to provide parties to litigation with a simple and predictable framework that will govern how a judgment in one Contracting State (a State that signs up to the Convention) can be recognised and enforced in another Contracting State.
To inform Australia’s negotiating position, this consultation paper seeks public comment on law and policy matters raised in the draft Convention of November 2017..... The draft Convention may also be downloaded from the Hague Conference website (www.hcch.net).
AGD is seeking both general and specific comments on the proposed text of the draft Convention ahead of a fourth, and possibly final, meeting of a Hague Special Commission from 24 29 May 2018. The purpose of the Special Commission meeting is to develop an appropriate text that can be submitted to a Diplomatic Conference for final negotiations and agreement. The Special Commission, set up by the Hague Conference in 2016, has met three times over the past two years to prepare the current draft Convention.
The fourth meeting of the Special Commission will focus on a limited number of outstanding issues. This includes contentious issues such as the extent to which intellectual property and privacy should fall within the scope of the draft Convention. Some members of the Special Commission propose that matters relating to intellectual property should be excluded from the draft Convention completely, while others seek its general inclusion, or inclusion on a restricted basis (see Part 5 for further discussion on intellectual property).
Any text in the draft articles in square brackets is not yet settled. That text includes intellectual property and privacy matters. Square brackets represent proposals, alternatives and options that are the subject of ongoing consideration by members of the Hague Conference.
It is intended that a draft Convention will be put to a Diplomatic Conference of the Hague Conference for consideration and conclusion no earlier than 12 months after the final meeting of the Special Commission (on current timing that is mid-2019 at the earliest). Until it has been concluded at a Diplomatic Conference, the text in the draft Convention is not finalised.
If the draft Convention is concluded at a Diplomatic Conference of the Hague Conference, and Australia determines that it is appropriate to sign the Convention, its implementation in Australia will be subject to the usual government processes and Joint Standing Committee on Treaties processes and review. Implementation is likely to require subsequent amendments to Australian domestic legislation.
The paper features several questions -
Q1 Have you experienced any problems with seeking to recognise or enforce a foreign judgment? If so, what have the main problems been? What are the benefits for Australian parties in the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments abroad, and what are the risks for Australian parties if foreign judgments are recognised and enforced in Australia or overseas?
Q2 Have you encountered issues and/or inconsistencies with the current regimes for recognition and enforcement of either Australian judgments in foreign countries or foreign judgments in Australia? If so, please provide details. Issues may encompass increased costs and timeframes associated with obtaining recognition and enforcement of judgments, including through duplicative proceedings in more than one jurisdiction, or an inability to obtain meaningful relief. Information on types of judgments and jurisdictions relevant to your experience is appreciated.
Q3 What are your views on the scope of the draft Convention? Are there any civil or commercial matters that are currently in scope that raise concerns? In particular, do you have any views on those matters in bracketed text, ie privacy/unauthorised public disclosure of information relating to private life; and/or intellectual property [and analogous matters]?
Q4 What are your views on the jurisdictional bases for recognition and enforcement? Do any of the currently proposed bases cause concern?
Q5 What are your views on the grounds for refusing recognition or enforcement? Do any of the currently proposed grounds cause concern?
Q6 What are your views on damages, costs and/or other provisions in the draft Convention?
Q7 Should intellectual property matters be included or excluded in the draft Convention (see Article 5(3) and Article 2, respectively)? To what extent should the circulation of intellectual property judgments be treated differently to that of other judgments under the draft Convention?
Q8 If included in the draft Convention, what are your views on the scope of intellectual property rights as currently defined/categorised?
Q9 Are the suggested discretionary safeguards in the draft convention adequate for intellectual property matters?
Q10 What are your views on the recognition and enforcement of monetary vs non-monetary judgments for infringement in intellectual property matters? Are there any other issues relating to intellectual property that should be addressed by the draft Convention?
There is a perspective on enforcement of domestic judgments in Green v Green [2018] FCWA 42, a family law dispute involving yet another 'Magna Carta' 'soverign citizen' claim that the court and state lack authority.

The judgment states
The husband contends (among other things) that this Court is not properly constituted and accordingly has no jurisdiction to hear and determine the case. Similarly, he contends that the Supreme Court of Western Australia is not properly constituted and that, accordingly, the sale orders are of no effect, being based on judgments themselves made without power. He asserts that the State of Western Australia “has never been lawfully constituted”, that “no judges and magistrates have been lawfully appointed” and that, accordingly, “no decisions of these judges and magistrates have any binding force”. 
The husband further contends that the State courts of Western Australia have no power to make orders relating to any company, as companies are subject to the exclusive legislative authority of the Federal Parliament. He argues that the City, by virtue of having an Australian Business Number, is such a company as is the State Government of Western Australia. 
He goes on to assert that he has “lawfully seized [his] property under clause 61 of Magna Carta” and that he has also “lawfully seized the [City A] offices”. He says that he served a statutory demand for $2.9 million on the City, that the City has “defaulted” and that, accordingly, the City owes him that sum. 
He states further that he has “lawfully seized on behalf of the people of Western Australia the executive government of WA and the judicature under the provisions of clause 61 of Magna Carta and hold them under the Crown”. Similarly, he states that he has “lawfully seized” the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council, and that he has recently served on the Premier and the State Government a “commercial lien in tort” for $999 trillion for the “stealing of the people of Western Australia’s assets and usurping authority over the people who are sovereign ”. 
On that basis, he argues that even were the Family Court of Western Australia to be properly constituted, I could not proceed to hear his case as my employment status would give rise to a conflict of interest on my part, by virtue of his claim against the State Government and his seizure of both the government and the judicature. 
For her part, the wife made various uncomplicated submissions as to the financial contributions of the parties, which the husband dismissed as a “nonsensical rant”. ...  
The husband is, to state the position as neutrally as possible, an experienced self-represented litigant. He has conducted his own proceedings before the Magistrates Court, District Court, Supreme Court of Western Australia, the Court of Appeal and the High Court. [T]he Supreme Court declared him a vexatious litigant pursuant to s 4 of the Vexatious Proceedings Restriction Act 2002 (WA), on the basis of his persistence in instituting proceedings that had no hope of success.