In a ‘Notice to Stakeholders’ released by the European Commission the commission has warned of possible repercussions for private parties when the UK becomes a ‘third party’ following the EU’s position papers for the Withdrawal Agreement. The Notice warns that EU rules in the fields of civil justice and private international law will not apply to the UK after the withdrawal date and could have several repercussions.
International jurisdiction will be affected as EU instruments in civil, commercial and family law regarding judicial proceedings will no longer have effect. This means that court judgements may not be recognised in European member states if there are no alternative agreements to replace the EU instruments. A country to country based agreement with each member states would be time consuming and costly, which could significantly downgrade the UK’s position as a “leading global centre for the provision of international legal services and dispute resolution”.
The recent report by CityUK emphasised the benefits of using English law and UK legal services by strongly advising that the UK maintain cross-border recognition and enforcement of UK Court judgments. A ‘no deal’ scenario would have an impact on the recognition of UK Incorporated companies and EU rules on disclosure and incorporation. Capital maintenance will also not apply which will affect employees, editors and investors. Although these issues are urgent the UK has already stated that it will remain a part of the Lugano convention which extends the Brussels convention to certain states who are not a part of the EU allowing for the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial cases. The government has also stated that it intends to remain a part of the Hague Conventions which will allow the UK to maintain some of the same procedures relating to the service of documents and evidence. Further since both the UK and the EU are parties to the New York Convention, arbitration awards will still be enforceable.
It remains to be seen how the eventual Withdrawal Agreement will outline and address these issues relating to international jurisdiction and private international law so that the UK can seek to retain its position as a leading global centre for legal services.
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