Judgments Convention – A positive step for cross-border enforcement

After careful consideration and lengthy negotiations, the Hague Conference on Private International Law finalised a new treaty: the Convention of 2 July 2019 on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters (the "Judgments Convention").

The Judgments Convention aims to harmonise private international civil and commercial law by enabling the reciprocal recognition and enforcement of judgments and in doing so, provides clients located in and operating across borders of contracting states with more legal certainty.

The real benefits of the Judgments Convention will only be realised once countries accede to it. Therefore, it is perhaps an encouraging step that the European Union has initiated a four-week feedback period in which member states are able to provide input on the European Council's intention to accede to the Judgments Convention. A consultation process for the ratification of the Judgments Convention will follow this feedback period (which ends in March 2020). More details can be found here.

Although the United Kingdom has not voiced its position on accession, should the United Kingdom take similar steps to adopt the Judgments Convention, along with the Hague Convention on Choice of Courts Agreements 2005, it would provide some comfort to businesses operating internationally post-Brexit in sofar as:

  • contracts subject to English law and jurisdiction are more likely to be recognised abroad;
  • Judgments by an English Court on any disputes arising out of such contracts are more likely to be recognised and enforceable in a foreign contracting state; and
  • as such, remedies for contractual disputes will be more capable of being realised.

If you would like to discuss any of the issues raised in this article please contact Sara Chisholm-Batten or Christa Feltham.

Christa Feltham assisted Sara Chisholm-Batten as an observer for the International Bar Association at the Hague Special Commission on the Judgments Project.