photo The EU is on the brink to become a party to the Hague Convention

The EU is on the brink to become a party to the Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements

The European Commission adopted 30 January 2014 aproposal for a Council decision on the approval, on behalf of the European Union, of the Hague Convention of 30 June 2005 on Choice of Court Agreements. The present Convention was signed by the European Union in 2009. Should the EU approve the Convention and thus be the second contracting party thereto the Convention shall enter into force. As a result the Member States should be bound by the Convention by virtue of its approval by the Union.

The objective of the Convention is to promote international trade and investment through enhanced judicial cooperation by introducing uniform rules on jurisdiction based on exclusive choice of court agreements and on the recognition and enforcement of judgments given by the chosen courts in its Contracting Parties.

At EU level, international jurisdiction of the Union courts based on choice of court agreements is governed by the Council Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 that, however, does not cover choice of court agreements in favor of foreign State courts. The mentioned Regulation shall be replaced by the Council Regulation (EC) No 1215/2012 entering into force 10 January 2015 that ensures coherence between the Union rules on choice of court in civil and commercial matters and those of the Convention.

If finally the Convention is approved by the EU, it shall affect the application of the Brussels I Regulation if at least one of the parties is resident in a Contracting State to the Convention. With regard to the recognition and enforcement of judgments, the Regulation will prevail where the court that made the judgment and the court in which recognition and enforcement is sought are both located in the Union.

The only point to hold the attention is that the EU decided to exclude insurance contracts from the scope of the Convention with a view to the better protection of the policyholder, the insured party or a beneficiary in such contracts.