The European Commission has launched a public consultation on the EU accession to the 2019 Hague Judgments Convention, asking feedback from stakeholders whether the Convention provides sufficient safeguards to effectively protect the fundamental rights of EU businesses and citizens.
The Convention aims to facilitate the cross-border recognition and enforcement of judgments emanating from the courts of contracting states to the Hague Judgments Convention; it applies only to civil and commercial judgments and expressly excludes judgments concerning criminal, penal, administrative, revenue or customs matters (Article 2). Technical subject matters covered by more specialised treaties (eg family, matrimonial, succession, defamation, intellectual property matters, and certain maritime matters) are not included, as well as insolvency, privacy matters and certain anti-trust/competition matters.
It is likely that the Hague Judgments Convention will attract significantly more contracting states than the 1971 Hague Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters, which was signed only by 5 Members. The success of the 2005 Choice of Courts Convention, which creates a set of recognition and enforcement rules for international litigation involving exclusive choice of court agreements, bodes well for the future. The Judgments Convention is wide in its scope, creating rules for the circulation of qualifying court judgments beyond cases where there was a judgment produced on the basis of a choice of court agreement between parties to an international dispute. Its reach is more similar to the one of the 1958 New York Convention on international recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards.
The public consultation launched by the European Commission is an important step towards the recognition of the benefits international recognition and enforcement of commercial and civil judgments can bring for legal certainty, as well as reducing litigation costs and the length of proceedings.