Recap of the 2019 Convention

As outlined in further detail in our briefing in January 2024 following the UK’s signature of the 2019 Convention, the 2019 Convention aims to facilitate judicial co-operation in the enforcement and recognition of judgments among its contracting states, without any review of the merits of the underlying judgments.

The 2019 Convention applies to the recognition and enforcement of judgments relating to civil or commercial matters, but excludes various matters such as revenue, customs or administrative matters, defamation, intellectual property, privacy, the carriage of passengers and goods, marine pollution, insolvency, certain anti-trust (competition) matters, and arbitration and related proceedings.

The 2019 Convention came into effect as between the EU (excluding Denmark) and Ukraine on 1 September 2023. On the same date, Uruguay also became a contracting party, where it will enter into force on 1 October 2024. Costa Rica, Israel, Russia, United States, Montenegro & North Macedonia have signed but not yet ratified the 2019 Convention. 

Ratification by the UK

Following its signing of the 2019 Convention in January 2024, the UK has implemented various necessary amendments to its civil procedure rules and legislation and, on 27 June 2024, the UK formally ratified the 2019 Convention.

The 2019 Convention will enter into force for the UK on 1 July 2025.

Why is the UK’s ratification important?

The UK’s ratification of the 2019 Convention will help to fill the gap left post-Brexit in terms of arrangements between the EU and the UK concerning mutual recognition and enforcement of judgments. The current position is that absent any regime for the automatic recognition and enforcement of UK judgments in Ireland, common law principles determine whether a UK judgment can be enforced in Ireland. The associated court process is more complex and lengthier than applications for recognition and enforcement of judgments from EU or Lugano Convention member states and in turn more costly.

Next steps

In circumstances where the 2019 Convention will not enter into force for the UK for another 12 months, it will be some time before it can be relied upon to recognise and enforce UK judgments.

Furthermore, the 2019 Convention only applies to judgments if, at the time the proceedings were issued, the convention had effect between the state in which the judgment originated and the state to whom the request to recognise and enforce the judgment is made.

On ratifying the 2019 Convention, a state can choose to opt out of its application between it and any other contracting state. In addition, each contracting state also has 12 months to decide whether the convention will apply between it and any joining state (i.e. the UK) – time will tell if any contracting states avail of this opt-out process.

We will continue to monitor developments concerning the 2019 Convention and keep you informed. If you would like to discuss any of the matters covered in this update in more detail, please get in touch with any member of our Litigation, Dispute Resolution and Investigations Group.

*Thank you to Jennifer Ling for her contribution to this article.