Lawyers are optimistic about the success of a new international convention designed to make the enforcement of court judgments easier across jurisdictions.

The 2019 Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Civil or Commercial Matters was the subject of a packed seminar on global enforcement issues in private international law, organised by the Law Society and Bar Council to mark the Opening of the Legal Year. The event was held under the Chatham House rule.

The convention applies to the recognition and enforcement in one contracting state of a judgment given by a court of another contracting state. Exclusions from its scope include maintenance obligations, wills and succession, family law matters such as matrimonial property regimes, insolvency, defamation, privacy and intellectual property.

Uruguay is the first and only state to sign the convention since the text was 'concluded' at the Hague Conference on Private International Law in July.

Discussing the prospect of the convention coming into force, one civil and commercial litigation specialist said it was only a matter of time, pointing out that the convention will reduce costs and increase access to justice. It is also being seen as 'complementary' to the Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements, which ensures the effectiveness of forum selection clauses between parties to international commercial transactions.

Delegates were told that there is keen interest in the EU to ratify the convention.

The New York Arbitration Convention, which applies to the recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards and the referral by a court to arbitration, has more than 150 signatories.

One City lawyer expressed surprise that numbers were still low for the Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements, which should be a 'post-Brexit priority'. She said enforcement disputes were rare but the comfort provided by the convention 'sometimes gets the deal over the line'.