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JGM, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 12183
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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I was recently employed in China, working at a university

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I was recently employed in China, working at a university there. (no UK presence) they are indicating they are going to sue me over unpaid medical bills. The amount is equivalent to about £2,400.
I know and do not expect you to be able to give advice regarding Chinese law. I am just looking for clarity regarding how that could be pursued here and whether it would be worth it considering the costs and hassles involved and my financial situation.
My understanding is I could reject a fresh claim on jurisdiction grounds and the only way it could be done is I would have to be sued in China. I don't think there is a small claims track there and it would take a long time to get heard and also cost a fair bit in court/lawyer fees. I would be tried in absentia and would have no opportunity to present a defence due to lack of finance and I could not go there due to my ill health.
Then they would have to get all the documents from the court and possibly the evidence professionally translated into English and then apply for registration at the high court in England. I understand that because there is no treaty between China and the UK that this makes this procedure rather complicated and longwinded and would require quite significant input of a solicitor, who would charge well for such assistance, I understand that there would be other fees to.
Similarly with reference to the above I assume I would at least have the right of appeal due to a default judgement in China. In addition my defence would be based on the fact that I was coerced into signing a loan agreement. I could provide substantial medical testimony to verify my condition at that time and also I would never have willingly agreed to the repayments I was forced to agree to due to having no ability to generate income because of my illness.
My employment contract appears to have an exclusive jurisdiction clause indicating that any arbitration would be settled in a Chinese court, although I did sign that in England. The loan agreement had no jurisdiction clause at all and was made and signed in China.
I should also mention I have no money and no employment and I also own no assets. I was told that the court would never order me to give what I don't have and they would not recover anything anyway as long as that situation remains so.
I just want to check whether what I have said is correct and get an idea about how costly pursuing this might be for them.
I appreciate this is not necessarily a straightforward issue but any advice will be much appreciated to put my mind at rest and get an idea If it is possibly going to cost them more than the claim to pursue this or prepare for the worst if that is not the case.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I also attached my employment contract and a copybof the lian agreement bu5 not the one I signed for your reference.

China has no bilateral treaties with the world major economies such as USA, Japan, UK and Germany Although there is a case where a German court has registered a judgment of the Chinese court for enforcement in Germany. Whilst I doubt the UK would do the same in the absence of a treaty, it isn't outwith all bounds of possibility. However, the reasons I think you should be OK here is the small amount of money involved and the most important fact is that you say you have no assets. Even if they did go to the time and trouble to sue you in your absence (which would cost many times the amount actually due) and then instruct lawyers over here to try to enforce the judgment (which would also be expensive) there's nothing they can do with it if you have no assets. If they are sensible they will note that you've left China and write the debt off. I hope that helps. Happy to discuss. Please leave a positive rating so that I am credited for my time.

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok that is good to know. I cannot return to China due to my ill health and as you said it just doesn't sound like it will be worth it as it's a waste of time and money. I doubt they will want to lose more money so I will just ignore them.Thanks,John.