On October 3, 2019, the Reciprocal Enforcement of Foreign Judgments (Amendment) Act (“Act”) came into force.  It consolidates and expands Singapore’s regime for statutory recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments by repealing the Reciprocal Enforcement of Commonwealth Judgments Act and amending the Reciprocal Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act.

The Act enables a broader range of judgments to be enforced in Singapore.  Previously, the scope of judgments receiving recognition and enforcement was limited to final money judgments from superior courts in civil proceedings and final judgments from superior courts in criminal proceedings for the payment of damages or compensation. The Act extends the scope of reciprocity by also recognizing:

  • Non-money judgments, including freezing orders, injunctions that prevent a party from dealing with assets, or requiring a party to do or refrain from doing an act, and orders for specific performance.  
  • Lower court judgments in addition to higher court judgments. This will include judgments obtained from state courts.
  • Interlocutory judgments, which will give successful claimants a safeguard against dissipation of assets before the final judgment is obtained.
  • Judicial settlements, consent judgments and consent orders, which are formalized arrangements between parties before a court that end the legal action on terms agreed by the parties.

There are certain types of foreign judgments that will not be recognized under the Act.  For example, judgments that have been obtained on appeal or registered / enforced in a recognized court under the Act but where the original decision to which it relates was obtained from a court not recognized under the Act will fall outside the scope of the framework under the Act. There are alternatives for seeking recognition of foreign judgments in Singapore that fall outside the scope of the framework, including common law.

Nandakumar Ponniya

Nandakumar (Kumar) Ponniya heads the Dispute Resolution Practice of Baker & McKenzie in the Asia-Pacific. Kumar is listed as a leading international arbitration lawyer in the Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2021 and was also named a Litigation Star in the Benchmark Litigation Asia Pacific 2020. Chambers Asia Pacific 2021 quotes “the ‘well respected’ Nandakumar Ponniya for having led commercial and investment arbitrations and notes that he is especially recognised for his focus on construction and contractual issues. He has also been described by clients as being “intellectually sharp and street smart” (Legal 500) and "very savvy and well connected" (Chambers Global). Further, he has been recognised for being "sensitive to commercial realities” (Chambers Asia Pacific) and providing "practical, on the ground advice that clients need” (Legal 500). Kumar is a member of the Expert Panel of the Centre for Cross-Border Commercial Law in Asia (CEBCLA) and is also a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. He serves on statutory tribunals such as the Income Tax Review Board and the Law Society’s Inquiry Panel. In addition, Kumar also serves as an adjunct assistant professor at the National University of Singapore and the Singapore Management University, where he conducts the International Projects Practice and Law as well as the International Construction Law course. Kumar has a broad focus on dispute resolution with specialist expertise in international arbitration, commercial litigation, and corporate restructuring and insolvency. His particular areas of industry focus include construction, technology, energy and financial services. With more than 20 years of experience, Kumar has an in-depth understanding of the legal and regulatory frameworks of the major Asian markets. His wealth of experience is drawn from handling disputes for government, state-owned enterprises, multi-national corporations and regional industry leads arising from a variety of commercial transactions and investments, as well as complex engineering and development projects in Singapore, ASEAN and the wider Asia Pacific region.


Daljit Kaur is an associate in the Baker McKenzie Dispute Resolution team based in Singapore.