The UK joins the Hague Judgments Convention

On 12 January 2024, the UK signed the 2019 Hague Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Civil or Commercial Matters (Hague Judgments Convention). The Convention has been ratified by 29 States.

The Hague Judgments Convention establishes a uniform framework for the mutual recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments within its member States. Although many States contain domestic laws on the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments, these rules are not uniform. As a result, businesses seeking to enforce the decisions of courts in foreign jurisdictions often face delays, high costs and uncertainty. The Convention applies to the recognition and enforcement of civil judgments from foreign jurisdictions but provides a host of exclusions including matters concerning family law, insolvency, defamation, and anti-trust issues. Recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments may be refused for reasons including improper notification of the claim, fraud, inconsistency with earlier judgments in the State of origin or the recognising State and issues of public policy. Additionally, enforcement may be postponed if parties have commenced appellate proceedings in the State of origin.

The Hague Judgments Convention has been welcomed by businesses in the UK, especially as judgments could no longer be mutually recognised between the UK and EU under the Brussels I Regulation and the Lugano Convention following Brexit. Although the UK has ratified the Hague Convention of 2005 on Choice of Court Agreements, this Convention only applies when parties have an exclusive consent-to-jurisdiction clause in their contracts.