On the 2nd July 2019, the Hague Conference on Private International Law finalized a new treaty on enforcement of judgments ("the Hague Convention").It is said that the New Hague Convention is a positive change as it shall increase certainty, predictability and mainly shorten timeframes for the recognition and enforcement of a judgement in other jurisdictions. Under the Hague Convention, a judgment given by a court of a Contracting State (the state of origin) shall in principle be recognized and enforced in another Contracting State (the requested state) without any review of the merits. The 2019 Convention will of course only apply between those countries that ratify it and bring it into force. Some may hope that the Hague Convention will provide an alternative route to the easy enforcement of English judgments post-Brexit since the Recast Brussels Regulation 1215/2012 and the Lugano Convention will no longer apply to the United Kingdom.
In brief the Hague Convention regulates the enforcement of foreign judgments by state parties. Some of the aspects of the said Convention include the following:
- its scope excludes administrative, customs and revenue matters, and matrimonial, insolvency, defamation, competition law and intellectual property disputes;
- the types of judgments that must be recognized fall into three groups: (a) judgments where there is a connection between the state of origin and the defendant; (b) judgments where the state of origin's jurisdiction was based on express consent; or (c) judgments where there is a connection between the claim and the state of origin.
- the registration of a foreign judgment may be opposed by the defendant if certain grounds are established, for example if the foreign judgment was obtained by fraud or is inconsistent with fundamental public policy of the requested state, there was violated due process or that the foreign was inconsistent with another judgment handed down by the requested state between the same parties.
It is said that the Hague Convention is a fundamental departure from current practice, in which enforcement of civil judgment is often a cumbersome and time-consuming effort. Many view the Hague Convention as a true gamechanger in the field of international dispute resolution. It remains to be seen whether this is the case and whether the Hague Convention will have the same impact as the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards. It could be argued that very much depends on whether the states are willing to give up part of their sovereignty in favor of an easier recognition and enforcement of judgments.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.