The 2005 Convention on Choice of Court Agreements to come into force on 1st October 2015

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On 30th June 2005, the Hague Conference on Private International Law concluded a Convention on Choice of Court Agreements. The EU as a Regional Economic Integration Organisation became a Member of the Hague Conference on Private International Law in 2007. On 11th June 2015, the EU approved the 2005 Convention on Choice of Court Agreements, which will therefore come into force between the EU (save Denmark) and Mexico (which was the first State to accede to the Convention in September 2007) on 1st October 2015 (see Series of important developments relating to the Hague Conference and the Hague Conventions ). This is the third out of four instruments of the Hague Conference (after the 2007 Hague Convention and Protocol on Maintenance) to which the European Union becomes a party as a Regional Economic Integration Organisation. The 2005 Convention, once in force, will be a binding International Convention, which has priority over the national rules, but also the European Rules on jurisdiction and enforcement of judgments, insofar as at least one of the parties is resident outside the European Union:

“This Convention shall not affect the application of the rules of a Regional Economic Integration Organisation that is a Party to this Convention, whether adopted before or after this Convention -

a) where none of the parties is resident in a Contracting State that is not a Member State of the Regional Economic Integration Organisation;
b) as concerns the recognition or enforcement of judgments as between Member States of the Regional Economic Integration Organisation” (Art 26 (6) Hague Convention).

The ambit of the Hague Convention is quite narrow and only concerns choice of court agreements. The aim is to ensure the effectiveness of exclusive choice of court agreements between parties to commercial transactions, including when it comes to the recognition and enforcement of judgments resulting from proceedings based on such agreements. The success of the Hague Convention remains to be seen. The Convention is a compromise which has been struck after it became apparent that consensus for the initial project of a worldwide jurisdiction and enforcement convention could not be achieved. Since, the European regime has been amended by the new Brussels I bis Regulation (Regulation (EU) No 1215/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2012 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters), with new rules regarding jurisdiction agreements, and the project of a worldwide jurisdiction and enforcement convention has been reinitiated, so far with success.

(Altalex, 22 June 2015. Article by Emmanuel Guinchard)

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