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WA Will My Assets and Superannuation be Affected?

Discussion in 'Debt and Bankruptcy Law Forum' started by Maggie Crawford, 15 July 2016.

  1. Maggie Crawford

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    My spouse was sued (civil) in another country for something he didn't even cause, but the court has ruled in favour of the plaintiff. I'd rather not give specifics, but it is for a few hundred thousand $$$:(

    Can they come after us here? I did not sign surety and was not a party to it. As we're married, can they take my assets too? (E.g. A jointly owned house). Can they take my savings away? And my superannuation?

    As this is a total crock, we are appealing and have good grounds for appeal. But still, I would like to know what could happen in the very worst case scenario. And how I could protect myself.
     
  2. Sophea

    Sophea Well-Known Member

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    Whether or not you can enforce a foreign judgment in Australia depends on where the judgement was issued and the type of judgement was issued. Can you provide some general information about it?
     
  3. Maggie Crawford

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    Thank you so much for your reply, Sophea.

    It is a civil judgement based on liability due to fire damage. As the owner, my spouse is liable for damage caused by the fire started on the property, with no personal involvement.

    It is in South Africa.
     
  4. Sophea

    Sophea Well-Known Member

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    Generally in order to enforce a foreign judgement you need to register it in Australia. In order to do that you either need to go through the Foreign Judgments Act 1991 (Cth) - however South Africa is not a listed country in the regulations of that act so they can't do it under that.

    Second option - it can be registered in Australia if there is a bilateral treaty between us and South Africa. Not sure if there is one or not sorry.

    Third option - it may be enforced at common law. This requires you to prove to the court that the South African judgment is final and conclusive (may not be if there is an appeal pending), for a definite sum of money, the parties are the same, and the foreign court had jurisdiction over you.

    If they can enforce the judgement debt here in Australia they may be able to seize assets belonging to your husband if the court allows that, however they can't seize your assets unless you are also a debtor on the judgement.
     
  5. Maggie Crawford

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    Many thanks Sophea:)

    When you say 'foreign court has jurisdiction over you', does that have to do with citizenship?

    And if I were to purchase a property in just my name, it would be safe? I understand that our jointly owned Australian property would be at risk.
     

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