TheCityUK condemns blow to European judicial cooperation

The European Commission has today issued a communication [1] to EU Member States with a non-binding recommendation that they should vote to block the UK’s ascension to the 2007 Lugano Convention [2].

Commenting on the news, Miles Celic, Chief Executive Officer, TheCityUK, said,

It’s hard to understand this decision or see how this recommendation helps SMEs and individuals across Europe who benefit most from the clarity and cost savings the Lugano Convention brings to cross-border legal disputes.

“All of the non-EU parties to Lugano: Iceland, Norway and Switzerland, have indicated their support for the UK’s application and a relationship with the Single Market is not listed as a requirement of membership of the Convention. We now hope that EU Member States will vote to support the UK’s application, as doing so has clear benefits for the citizens of all signatories to the treaty. However, other mechanisms exist which mean UK court judgments will continue to be enforceable throughout EU and EFTA.

“Despite any setbacks, English and Welsh law will remain the law of choice for international business due to the clear, enforceable contracts it delivers, the quality of the UK legal sector, and the expert judicial system which underpins it.”

The Lugano Convention is an international treaty which, according to Article 70(1)(c) of the treaty, is open to “any other State” outside the Single Market and EEA.

EU Member States will soon be asked vote on the UK’s application with the final EU position to be determined by a qualified majority.

End

Notes to editors
[1] European Commission, ‘Communication - Assessment on the application of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to accede to the 2007 Lugano Convention,’ 4 May 2021
[2] The Lugano Convention is an international treaty clarifying which national courts have jurisdiction in cross-border civil and commercial disputes and ensures cross-border enforcement of judgments. Agreed rules on jurisdiction and recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil commercial matters ensure that the rights of those involved in cross-border trade and transactions are protected and have access to justice regardless of their financial resources.