Tuesday, February 24, 2015
New Rules for Enforcing European Judgments Within Europe (and a Small Reminder About the Hague Choice of Courts Convention)
European Union Regulation 44/2001 has been updated by European Union Regulation 1215/2012, a regulation adopted on December 12, 2012 (hey, that was 12/12/12) and that became effective last month on January 10, 2015. It has some substantial improvements over the earlier procedures to enforce judgments within Europe and contains some important protections for both plaintiffs and defendants. Do a quick google search for the new regulation and you'll find plenty of commentary on the new rules.
The EU regulation has been described as the equivalent of the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which allows enforcement of one U.S. state’s judgment within another U.S. state. For judgments outside the United States, the judicial doctrine of comity applies as there is yet no treaty in force requiring U.S. courts to recognize foreign judgments (or requiring foreign courts to recognize U.S. judgments).
There is such a treaty drafted, however: The Hague Choice of Courts Convention adopted in June 2005. It has not yet entered into force even though it requires only two states to become parties. Mexico lead the way by its accession in September 2007, so only one other party is necessary.
Who might be that next party? The United States signed the Choice of Courts Convention in January 2009 and the European Union signed in April 2009. (The treaty allows signatures by individual countries or by regional units like the European Union -- that itself is an important development in treaty law.)