What is the Judgments Convention and when will it come into effect?
On March 1, 2022, the United States signed the 2019 Hague Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Civil or Commercial Matters (“the Judgments Convention”). They are the sixth state to do so, following in the footsteps of Costa Rica, Israel, the Russian Federation, Ukraine and Uruguay.
The present position
Currently the procedure for enforcement of foreign judgments in the US is regulated on a state-by-state basis with some overarching principles.
The enforcement of foreign judgments is frequently challenged on a number of basis including (but not limited to) lack of subject matter or personal jurisdiction.
What are the implications of the Judgments Convention?
It is designed to provide a single global framework for the free circulation and enforcement of judgments across different jurisdictions.
The key element is that a judgment given by a Court of a Contracting State shall be recognised and enforced in another Contracting State without a further review of the merits of the judgment. Recognition or enforcement may be refused only on the grounds specified in the Judgments Convention.
This should, in theory, make it much easier for foreign judgments to be enforced between Contracting States with the procedure being less open to challenge.
When will the Judgments Convention come into effect?
Whilst six states have signed up to the Judgments Convention, none have yet ratified it. Therefore, it will not enter into force until one year has elapsed following the ratification by at least two State Parties.
In addition, the UK has still yet to sign up. In order for the UK to benefit from the provisions of the Judgments Convention, the UK government will need to both sign up to it and ratify it.
If enough State Parties do ratify the Judgments Convention it should allow a more streamlined approach to the enforcement judgments internationally in a similar way to the system that is currently in place between EU member states.
The fact that the US has signed up is certainly a step in the right direction but, in order for it to have any effect, countries will need to actually ratify it.
For information on enforcing foreign judgments in the UK, please see our article here.
Our Commercial Dispute Resolution Team has a wealth of experience enforcing judgments in different jurisdiction within Europe and further afield. If you require any assistance in this area, please do not hesitate to get in contact.