Stakeholders, Brexit and Private International Law: what will happen with international jurisdiction

Last 27 August 2020, the European Commission published an updated “Notice to Stakeholders on the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom and EU Rules in the Field of Civil Justice and Private International Law” (the “Notice”). It presents a useful summary of the rules that will apply after the transition period ends, 31 December 2020, in relation with international jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition and enforcement of judgments, insolvency, judicial cooperation, and other related issues.

Even though the EU and the UK are negotiating a free trade area, it is improbable that such an agreement will be concluded before the transition period. If this happens, the UK will become a third party before the EU Member States and the application of EU law. This is profoundly important for parties of the economic and commercial sector, who engage transactions with UK nationals. Stakeholders who are going to subscribe to a contract containing a choice of UK courts, or have already subscribed it, need to bear in mind the consequences in the event of a dispute. If they wish to correct the direction of their relationship, it should be done before the end of the transition period to avoid unwanted legal situations.

  • Proceedings started before the end of the transition period. The EU rules on international jurisdiction continue to apply in the UK and EU Member States, in situations involving the UK. Also, the EU rules on jurisdiction will continue to apply to “proceedings or actions that are related to such legal proceedings” even when such related proceedings or actions start after the end of the transition period (Article 67(1) of the Withdrawal Agreement).

  • Proceedings started after the end of the transition period. Courts in the EU Member States will need to analyse if the matter falls within the scope of EU instruments -or not- to determine their international jurisdiction. (i) When the case falls within the range of EU instruments in civil, commercial, and family matters, the courts will base its decision on EU instruments. National rules on international jurisdiction may be applied by the court of a Member State when the instrument in question provides so. (ii) If the matter falls outside the scope of EU instruments, “international jurisdiction will be governed by the national rules of the Member State in which a court has been seized”. International conventions may apply in some instances.

Find the Notice on the following link:


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