Beyond jurisdiction: Courts cannot adjudicate on foreign properties, says SC

Published: December 24, 2015
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Supreme Court. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

Supreme Court. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

ISLAMABAD: The top court has declared that civil courts in Pakistan have no jurisdiction to entertain and adjudicate on a suit for administration with regards to the property situated abroad.

The Supreme Court’s three-judge bench, headed by Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, has issued a judgment over the question whether the civil courts in Pakistan have jurisdiction to entertain and adjudicate on a suit for administration with regards to a property situated outside the country.

The judgment said the courts of Pakistan must not adjudicate on property which is situated in another country, adding that the territorial jurisdiction of Pakistani courts has been limited, restricted and circumscribed only to such properties, which are situated within Pakistan’s territorial boundaries.

“We found that the courts of Pakistan must not adjudicate upon a property which is situated in another country as the governing principles will be those of private international law as opposed to the municipal law of Pakistan,” the order said.

The order said it is incumbent upon the courts of Pakistan to keep the principles of conflict of laws or private international law in mind when dealing with matters involving questions of cross-border succession.

“These principles are based on mutual respect for, and recognition of, the judicial systems and the laws of other countries,” it said.

The judgment said barring certain exception, the courts in Pakistan should respect and give effect to the judicial decisions of other countries on the same subject under the principle of ‘judicial comity’.

It is clear that foreign judgments are conclusive as to any matter thereby adjudicated on and Pakistani courts must recognise and enforce the same. “A Pakistani court may not consider a foreign judgment to be conclusive if it has been pronounced by a court of incompetent jurisdiction,” it noted.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 24th, 2015.

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