A decision on whether the UK can join a key convention which facilitates judicial co-operation across Europe is believed to be imminent, following months of negotiations.
The UK submitted an application to accede to the 2007 Lugano Convention in April 2020 but has struggled to gain membership. The convention is an international agreement on which country’s courts may hear civil or commercial cross-border disputes and which decisions can be enforced. The agreement is particularly important for individuals and small businesses which would otherwise struggle to enforce their rights.
A meeting is due to be held today by the working party on civil law matters, which will make a recommendation to the European Council about the convention. It is understood that the European Commission presented a communication on Lugano to the working group on EU-UK relations last week. While no agenda or papers are available for today’s meeting, it has been reported that Britain is poised to win Brussels’ backing.
In November, a host of organisations urged the EU to approve the UK’s application in a letter to Charles Michel, president of the European Council. Signatories included the law societies of England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland; City of London Corporation; British Retail Consortium; British Chamber of Commerce EU & Belgium; Which?; and the Chambers of Ireland.
European Free Trade Association states have already said they are willing to support the UK’s application.