Ontario: a clever but futile attempt to avoid an expired limitation period in foreign judgment enforcement

The Superior Court decision in H.M.B. Holdings Limited v. The Attorney General of Antigua and Barbuda reads like an exam question: can you use a chain of foreign judgment enforcement proceedings to avoid a limitations issue? Nope.

The plaintiff obtained a judgment from the Privy Counsel against the defendant and then commenced an action in BC to enforce the judgment and obtained default judgment.  The plaintiff then applied Ontario to enforce the BC judgment pursuant to the Reciprocal Enforcement of Judgments Act.  This proceeding was timely.

The defendant opposed the application successfully on the basis of s. 3(g) of the Act, which provides that the court shall not grant judgment if the judgment debtor would have a good defence to an action brought on the original judgment.  If the application were brought on the original judgment—the Privy Counsel judgment—it would be statute-barred.  Thus an application brought to enforce a judgment enforcing the Privy Counsel judgment must also fail.