Position papers on judicial cooperation in civil matters: steps towards clarity?

As the new legal year starts in London, we’re running a short series of posts covering developments and cases you might have missed over the summer.  This first post in the series looks at the UK and EU position papers on Judicial Cooperation in Civil and Commercial Matters.

Since the Brexit Referendum of June 2016, there has been uncertainty as to how the current conflict of laws regimes concerning civil and commercial matters will change. (Other civil matters are outside the scope of this brief note.)

Until recently, there had been no indication from governmental levels as to the proposals both for the wind-down of the current regime and for the future basis of judicial cooperation (if any) between the UK and EU Member States.   This summer saw the publication of position papers by both the EU and the UK.  On 12 July 2017, the EU published its Position Paper on Judicial Cooperation in Civil and Commercial Matters.  On 22 August 2017, the UK published its paper entitled “Providing a cross-border civil judicial cooperation framework: a future partnership.”

Both papers set out proposals for the “wind-down” period.  The EU paper makes no proposals for any new relationship between itself and its former member, the UK. The UK makes some high level proposals in this regard. Continue reading

Article 50 and the Brussels Regulation

With Article 50 now triggered, amongst many other negotiations, attention will turn to the Brussels I Regulation. Rather than setting alarm bells ringing, this article by Sara Masters QC and Belinda McRae sets out three steps, based on previous examples of EU negotiations, of how the UK Government should assuage fears of upheaval in the system of commercial dispute resolution following Brexit.

The full article is here.

Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements is in force in Singapore from tomorrow

A year after it entered into force in EU countries, the Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements of 30 June 2005 will enter into force in Singapore tomorrow (1 October 2016).

I covered the basics of the Convention in my post last year.  Since then, the the UK has voted for Brexit.  This could add to the Convention’s importance. Post Brexit, the UK could sign up to the Hague Convention in its own right (not as part of the EU).  This would make sure that, in other Convention States (1) jurisdiction clauses in favour of the English courts and (2) recognition and enforcement of English judgments, would continue to be effective.

It is important to remember, though, that the Convention applies only to choice of court agreements in “civil or commercial matters” (subject to certain exclusions, e.g. consumer and employment contracts).

Finally, the Convention may be spreading.  In the last year, the Ukraine has signed the Convention (on 21 March 2016) but not ratified it.

Brexit?

This briefing note explores some of the alternatives to the Brussels I Regime that may be introduced if the UK were to vote to leave the EU.

The law relating to civil jurisdiction and judgments has undergone substantial change in recent years, with the entry into force of the Brussels I Regulation (Recast) (‘the Recast Regulation’) on 10 January 2015. That Regulation is the latest in a line of European legislative instruments governing both the allocation of civil and commercial jurisdiction among EU member state courts and the recognition and enforcement of their judgments. This regulatory regime, which has been in force in the UK in various guises since 1987, is likely to be significantly modified, if not entirely replaced, in the event of Brexit.

Read the full note here.