The government has pledged to join the Hague 19 Convention on the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments ‘as soon as practicable’.

It comes after a Ministry of Justice consultation on accession to Hague 19, which provides a global framework of common rules to facilitate the recognition and enforcement of judgments from one jurisdiction to another. 

The government revealed today that respondents considered the merits of Hague 2019 to outweigh any potential downsides. A statement said it had decided that the UK 'will sign Hague 2019 as soon as practicable'. It continued: ‘The UK joining Hague 2019 stands to benefit both businesses and consumers operating and living across borders, by providing greater legal certainty about the mutual recognition and enforcement of judgments given in the UK and in another contracting state. 

‘Joining Hague 2019 should also increase the attractiveness of the UK for dispute resolution, given how the convention will facilitate recognition and enforcement of judgments from UK courts.’ 

Nick Emmerson

Emmerson: 'We urge the government to proceed with accession as soon as possible'

Source: Darren Filkins

The convention’s global reach is expected to expand over the coming years, with the US, Israel and a number of other countries having already signed.  

Some of the potential downsides raised by respondents included that of courts in the UK being obliged to recognise and enforce foreign judgments when there would not have been such an obligation under the common law or existing arrangements. 

Another concern is that the Hague Convention has a more limited scope than the Lugano Convention, the UK’s membership of which lapsed with Brexit. The EU has rejected British overtures to rejoin Lugano. Noting these concerns, the government said Hague ‘offers uniform rules for the recognition and enforcement of civil and commercial judgments between the UK and other contracting parties, which include the EU member states’. 

Law Society president Nick Emmerson said: 'We welcome the unanimous support from respondents to the consultation for the UK joining the Hague 19 Convention. We urge the government to proceed with accession as soon as possible.

'It is important, however, that the UK becoming a contracting state to Hague 19 should not stop efforts to further facilitate cross border enforcement of judgments, including continued discussions to accede to the Lugano Convention.'


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