UK Government Signs the Hague Convention

UK Government Signs the Hague Convention

The UK’s position as a leading centre for dispute resolution has been bolstered by the signing of the Convention of 2nd July 2019 on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgements in Civil or Commercial Matters (more commonly known as the 2019 Hague Judgements Convention).

The treaty was signed in the Netherlands on Friday 12th January 2024 by justice minister Lord Bellamy.

Signing of the treaty brings the UK a step closer to full ratification of the convention which would establish a greater degree of certainty in the recognition and enforcement of international judgements.

The convention seeks to facilitate rule-based multilateral trade and investment via judicial co-operation in the recognition and enforcement of judgements. Under the terms of the convention, a judgement given by a court of a Contracting State must be recognised and enforced in another Contracting State. The hope is that the convention will do for judgements what the New York Convention has done for arbitral awards. 

At present, the convention has 29 contracting parties, including the EU member states and Ukraine. Further states are expected to join, with Uruguay scheduled to join in October 2024. Furthermore, the United States has signed (but not yet ratified) the convention.

Commenting on the UK’s signing of the treaty, Lord Bellamy said: 

“Joining the Hague Convention marks a significant step forward for the UK within private international law and strengthens our appeal to businesses as a centre for dispute resolution. 

The robust and reliable regime the Convention offers for the recognition and enforcement of judgements will provide confidence to people and businesses who are involved in civil and commercial disputes as they live, work and do business across borders”.

A plethora of organisations and professional bodies have also welcomed the UK’s signing of the treaty. 

Nick Emerson, Law Society of England and Wales president, said: 

“We are pleased the UK is joining the Hague 19 Convention, which sets out to provide a framework of common rules to facilitate the recognition and enforcement of judgements from one jurisdiction to another. 

The Convention will come into force 12 months after ratification and will apply to judgement in proceedings started after that day. 

By facilitating the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgements, the Convention enhances access to justice for citizens and consumers around the world. It also strengthens a positive national and international environment for multilateral trade, investment and mobility”.

Emerson did, however, highlight that the UK is yet to accede to the Lugano Convention.

The Lugano Convention provides for the recognition and enforcement of judgements between the EU and EFTA (European Free Trade Association) states but also contains rules on which courts have jurisdiction. The UK’s membership of the Lugano Convention lapsed with Brexit.

Involved in a maritime dispute? 

Then contact the Shearwater Law team today. Our team is adroit at dealing with a broad range of maritime-related disputes, including (but not limited to); charterparty disputes, cargo and bills of lading disputes, shipping and commercial contract disputes and more. 

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Charles Patterson
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