European Commission backs Hague Judgments Convention

We start the week with one eye on the future. On Friday, The European Commission adopted a proposal for the EU to accede to the Hague Judgments Convention.

Didier Reynders, European Commissioner for Justice, said:

Having one’s rights enforced in a country outside of the EU can be very cumbersome, both for private persons and for businesses. The EU joining the Hague Judgments Convention would improve legal certainty and save citizens and companies time and money. The average length of proceedings would decrease considerably.

The Convention, which facilitates the recognition and enforcement of judgements in civil and commercial matters, could go some way to plugging the enforcement gap left by the UK’s departure from the Brussels-Lugano regime.

This of course assumes that the UK will in due course accede to the Convention; a course of action which has been recommended by certain commentators (such as Paul Beaumont in a recent edition of the Journal of Private International Law).

There are, however, limitations to the Hague regime.

As Chris Deacon of Stewarts and Sarah Prager of 1 Chancery Lane have pointed out, the Convention only deals with enforcement and not with jurisdiction. It also excludes claims arising from the carriage of passengers, which might cause difficulties in relation to claims by passengers injured in road traffic accidents.

The Commission’s proposal will now have to be adopted by the Council, with the European Parliament’s consent, for the EU to join the Convention.

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