On 30 May 2018, Denmark deposited its instrument of accession to the Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements, which means that the Convention will apply to all EU member states from 1 September 2018, as well as to Mexico and Singapore.
The Convention provides that courts of member states must respect exclusive jurisdiction clauses in favour of the courts of other member states, and must recognise and enforce judgments of the courts of other member states given pursuant to such clauses (subject to certain limited exceptions).
While currently the Convention only applies as between Mexico and Singapore and the EU member states (apart from Denmark), it will become more significant if ratified by the other countries that have signed the Convention but have yet to ratify it, namely the US, the People’s Republic of China, Ukraine and Montenegro.
From a UK perspective, the Convention may also become more significant after we leave the EU, and any agreed transition period comes to an end, so that the current rules on jurisdiction and enforcement of judgments under the Recast Brussels Regulation no longer apply to the UK. The UK government has indicated its intention that the UK will sign up to the Convention in its own right post-Brexit. Assuming that happens, it means that English court judgments should continue to be enforceable throughout the EU, where the English court had jurisdiction under an exclusive jurisdiction clause – even if no other arrangements on jurisdiction and enforcement are agreed between the UK and the EU (contrary to the UK’s intention to seek a bespoke agreement on these matters and/or an agreement to join the Lugano Convention).