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Patrick H.
Patrick H., Lawyer
Category: Australia Law
Satisfied Customers: 5422
Experience:  Dip Law LPAB - Sydney based lawyer
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I am wondering if it's possible to sue someone overseas?

Customer Question

Hi Patrick, my name is***** am wondering if it's possible to sue someone overseas? Specifically China. The person is originally Australian but has residency there I believe.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Australia Law
Expert:  Patrick H. replied 2 years ago.


Can you elaborate on why you want or need to sue this person?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
This person is my Agent in importing goods from China. I have successfully traded with them over the last two years but for my last order of approximately AUD$30,000, they have not supplied the goods within an acceptable timeframe and have now ceased to respond to my enquiries. I am extremely concerned about this - it has never happened before.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I have always paid a deposit up-front and then the balance on shipping. This was done for this order but the order has never appeared and after numerous excuses as to why, he has now ceased to respond at all.
Expert:  Patrick H. replied 2 years ago.

If you entered into your contract in Australia, then you may be able to sue them through the Australian courts, but it will depend on a specific analysis of the exact circumstances in which you entered into your contract. The effectiveness of such action will also depend on whether this person has assets in Australia, or whether the person is likely to return to Australia at some point.

Alternately, you can try to sue them in China, but you will need to engage a Chinese lawyer to explore your legal options in that regard, as only a Chinese lawyer will be able to advise you on the laws applicable in China. No doubt your prospects of recovering will also depend on the circumstances of your supplier. The supplier may have simply run off with your money, or may have gone broke for reasons beyond his control (especially noting recent issues with the Chinese sharemarket), until that is ascertained, it will be difficult for even a Chinese lawyer to be able to be sure you have good prospects of recovering.

For future reference, when dealing with foreign suppliers in large transactions, consider consulting with your bank so that you can arrange for payments to be made to a third party escrow account instead of directly to the foreign supplier. Arrangements of this sort work such that you pay the money to the bank, which only releases the money to the supplier once the goods have been delivered.

I trust the above assists.

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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Patrick,He lives in China and I'm unsure if he's likely to return to Australia. I'm not sure about his assets but I do pay him into an Australian bank account.Does that mean I could sue him here? Going down the Chinese route would be problematic.
Expert:  Patrick H. replied 2 years ago.

It certainly is an indicator that there may be assets here to recover, but whether you can sue him here will depend on the details of your contractual arrangements.

If as it appears there are assets here it may well be worthwhile going through your case in more detail with a local lawyer who can give you firm advice on whether to proceed here or not .

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