Jurisdiction – what next?

The “Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community” has been given effect in the UK by the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020. The Withdrawal Agreement is being voted on by the European Parliament today. It must also be approved by the Council of the EU.

Assuming it is approved, jurisdiction will be covered by art. 67(1) of the Withdrawal Agreement. Broadly speaking, this provides for:

  1. The continued application of Brussels I (Recast) to legal proceedings in the UK and in Member States involving the UK “instituted before the end of the transition period”.
  2. The continued application of Brussels I (Recast) to legal proceedings which, although not instituted before the end of the transition period, “are related to such proceedings” pursuant to the lis pendens provisions in arts. 29–31 of Brussels I (Recast).

Article 126 of the Withdrawal Agreement provides that the transition period will run until 31 December 2020 (subject to the possibility of extension of the transition period under art. 132).

Article 67(2)(a) covers the recognition and enforcement of judgments. This provides that “[i]n the United Kingdom, as well as in the Member States in situations involving the United Kingdom” Brussels I (Recast) will continue to apply to judgments “given in legal proceedings instituted before the end of the transition period”.

The UK has also received statements of support from Norway, Iceland, and Switzerland for the UK’s intent to accede in its own right to the Lugano Convention 2007 with effect from the end of the transition period (31 December 2020). We previously wrote about the difficulties that could arise if any of the signatories objected to the UK’s accession to the treaty. The Lugano Convention will continue to apply during the transition period.

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