Ordinance Nos,
41 of 1921
Short title.

1.(This Ordinance should be read subject to the reference “Her Majesty’s Realms and Territories “, being inapplicable.) This Ordinance may be cited as the Reciprocal Enforcement of Judgments Ordinance.



(1) In this Ordinance, unless the context other wise requires-

“judgment” means any judgment, decree, or order given or made by a court in any civil proceedings, whether before or after the passing of this Ordinance, whereby any sum of money is made payable, and includes an award in proceedings on an arbitration if the award has, in pursuance of the law in force in the place where it was made, become enforceable in the same manner as a judgment given by a court in that place ;

“judgment-creditor ” means the person by whom the judgment was obtained, and includes the legal representatives, successors, and assigns of that person;

” judgment-debtor ” means the person against whom the judgment was given, and includes any person against whom the judgment is enforceable in the place where it was made ;

“original court ” in relation to any judgment means the court by which the judgment was given ;

“registering court” in relation to any judgment means the District Court of Colombo ;

” superior court in the United Kingdom ” means the High Court in England or Northern Ireland and the Court of Session in Scotland ;

” United Kingdom ” means the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

(2) Subject to rules of court, any of the powers conferred by this Ordinance on the registering court may be exercised by a judge of the court.

Enforcement in Sri Lanka of judgments obtained in superior courts in the United Kingdom.


(1) Where a judgment has been obtained in a superior court in the United Kingdom, the judgment-creditor may apply to the registering court at any time within twelve months after the date of the judgment, or such longer period as may be allowed by the court, to have the judgment registered in the court, and on any such application the court may, if in all the circumstances of the case they think it is just and convenient that the judgment should be enforced in Sri Lanka, and, subject to the provisions of this section, order the judgment to be registered accordingly.

(2) No judgment shall be ordered to be registered under this section if-

(a) the original court acted without jurisdiction; or

(b) the judgment-debtor, being a person who was neither carrying on business nor ordinarily resident within the jurisdiction of the original court, did not voluntarily appear or otherwise submit or agree to submit to the jurisdiction of that court; or

(c) the judgment-debtor, being the defendant in the proceedings, was not duly served with the process of the original court and did not appear notwithstanding that he-

(i) was ordinarily resident, or

(ii)was carrying on business within the jurisdiction of that court, or

(iii) agreed to submit to the jurisdiction of that court ; or

(d)the judgment was obtained by fraud; or

(e)the judgment-debtor satisfies the registering court either that an appeal is pending, or that he is entitled and intends to appeal against the judgment ; or

(f) the judgment was in respect of a cause of action which for reasons of public policy or for some other similar reason could not have been entertained by the registering court.

(3) Where a judgment is registered under this section-

(a) the judgment shall, as from the date of registration, be of the same force and effect, and proceedings may be taken thereon, as if it had been a judgment originally obtained or entered up on the date of registration in the registering court;

(b) the registering court shall have the same control and jurisdiction over the judgment as it has over similar judgments given by itself, but in so far only as relates to execution under this section ;

(c) the reasonable costs of and incidental to the registration of the judgment (including the costs of obtaining a certified copy thereof from the original court and of the application for registration) shall be recoverable in like manner as if they were sums payable under the judgment ;

(d) the same stamp duties shall be payable in respect of proceedings under this Ordinance as would have been payable if the judgment had been an original judgment of the registering court.

(4) Rules of court shall provide-

(a) for service on the judgment-debtor of notice of the registration of a judgment under this section ; and

(b) for enabling the registering court on an application by the judgment-debtor to set aside the registration of a judgment under this section on such terms as the court thinks fit; and

(c) for suspending the execution of a judgment registered under this section until the expiration of the period during which the judgment-debtor may apply to have the registration set aside.

(5) In any action brought in any court in Sri Lanka on any judgment which might be ordered to be registered under this section, the plaintiff shall not be entitled to recover any costs of the action, unless an application to register the judgment under this section has previously been refused, or unless the court otherwise orders.

Issue of certificates of judgments obtained in Sri Lanka.

4. Where a judgment has been obtained in any District Court or in the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka against any person, the court shall, on an application made by the judgment-creditor and on proof that the judgment-debtor is resident in the United Kingdom, issue to the judgment-creditor a certified copy of the judgment.

Rules of court.

5. Rules of court may be made in the manner provided by section 49 of the Courts Ordinance, for the purposes of this Ordinance, and also for the purpose of regulating the practice and procedure (including evidence), in respect of proceedings of any kind under this Ordinance.

Extent of Ordinance.


(1) Where the Minister is satisfied that reciprocal provisions have been made by the Legislature of any part of Her Majesty’s Realms and Territories outside the United Kingdom for the enforcement within that part of Her Realms and Territories of judgments obtained in any District Court or in the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka, the Minister may, by Order published in the Gazette, declare that this Ordinance shall extend to judgments-obtained in a superior court in that part of Her Realms and Territories in like manner as it extends to judgments obtained in a superior court in the United Kingdom, and on any such Order being made this Ordinance shall extend accordingly.

(2) For the purposes of this section the expression “part of Her Majesty’s Realms and Territories outside the United Kingdom ” shall be deemed to include any territory which is under Her Majesty’s protection, or in respect of which a mandate is being exercised by the Government of any part of Her Majesty’s Realms and Territories.