I. Arizona and Alberta, Canada Using SB 1447 to Enhance Cooperative Relationship.
In 2015, Senate Bill 1447 (“SB 1447”) was approved and signed into law by Arizona Governor Doug Ducey. SB 1447 was enacted to provide reciprocal enforcement of money judgements in foreign countries where such country has adopted or enacted a similar reciprocal law.
To take advantage of the bill, the foreign country money judgement must be final, conclusive and enforceable. Further, SB 1447 does not apply to foreign judgements involving taxes, fines and penalties, foreign judgements involving divorce or domestic relations, where the foreign country has not adopted a reciprocal money judgement law, where the foreign country does not provide for impartial tribunals, and where the foreign court does not have personal jurisdiction over the defendant or subject matter jurisdiction, among other requirements.
While SB 1447 applies to all foreign countries (as defined in Arizona Revised Statue 12-2151), it provides great significance to Arizona’s relations with Alberta, Canada in particular. In May 2019, delegates from Arizona visited Alberta to attend a three-day trade mission to meet certain companies in the area that were interested in expanding their business into Arizona. In September 2019, the Canadian administration of Alberta Premier Jason Kenney added Arizona to the Alberta Reciprocal Enforcement of Judgements Act. In October, Arizona and the Canadian Province of Alberta formally established an agreement for reciprocity enforcement of money judgments in line with SB 1447.
With Canada being the largest source of foreign direct investment in Arizona and with over $3.6 billion in trade between the two, SB 1447 fosters continued growth amongst the territories. This particularly helps build relationships with lenders and those companies that have assets and property that can be used as collateral. The relationship between Arizona and Alberta now allows for a more cohesive structure in dealing with loan agreements, employment, agency and partnership agreements, and purchase and sale agreements pertaining to real property.
By Arizona enacting SB 1447 and Alberta adding Arizona to its Reciprocal Enforcement of Judgements Act, lenders are now more willing to provide loans to Arizona and Canadian businesses to which the collateral is in Alberta. Due to the new streamlined process and reciprocity between Arizona and Alberta, lending institutions can now collect on securitized loans more easily and at a lower cost than previously allowed. This change will enhance the lending industry and provide for greater growth in trade and business dealings between Arizona and Alberta.
II. The Reciprocal Foreign Country Money Judgements Process in Arizona.
Assuming that the reciprocating country has jurisdiction, is within the statute of limitations and is not violating any common law in the other jurisdiction (among other requirements), Arizona can enforce monetary judgments at a much more expedited rate with far greater efficiency than ever before.
In Arizona, the process is simple. You begin by filing an application to register the Canadian foreign judgment. You must include an authenticated copy of the foreign judgment from the foreign court with the Arizona clerk’s office. You must also include an affidavit to substantiate the Canadian foreign judgment, file a notice of filing and a cover sheet, among other documents. Once the judgement is filed you can record the judgment as a lien on any property owned by the debtor and begin the collections process.
While the process is much easier, many foreign judgements get denied in Arizona for common reasons, such as Arizona not having jurisdiction over the debtor or the subject matter, or when the debtor did not receive notice. Therefore, it is important to ensure that your monetary judgment falls under the requirements of SB1447 and proper steps are taken during the filing process.