Swinging back to the sixties? Can Brexit revive sleeping bi-lateral treaties?

JTJB Network Legal Update March 2018

In the midst of all discussions and speculations on the future of the European Union with or without the United Kingdom for litigators it can be worthwhile dusting down old bi-lateral treaties whose applicability has been sub-ordinated or superseded by the respective EU- regulations.

The recent agreement on a transitional period between the EU and the United Kingdom, subject to governmental approval, can bring some intermediate relief for the time-table and core areas such as immigration and fishing rights.

The ordinary litigation lawyer might face themselves with other questions such as, how do I enforce a UK judgement in my country (and vice versa)?  When the UK is no longer a EU-member, by definition the Brussel Convention 1215/2012, becomes inapplicable to a non-member state. Automatic recognition of UK judgements within the EU will no longer be the legal position, as it is now under the current regime.

We can assume that the UK legal system will not lose any of its reliability and impartiality after Day X.

But with no other agreement in place, do lawyers and courts have to fall back to the general principles of reciprocal recognition or can we rely on something more specific? Can we apply (again) e.g. a bi-lateral treaty between the Federal Republic of Germany and the United Kingdom of 1961 on Reciprocal Recognition and Enforcement of Judgements? Besides Germany, the UK has similar treaties in place with countries such as France, Belgium, Austria, Italy and The Netherlands.

The more interesting part of the question and the answer to deliver is, what about judgements from all the other EU- countries the UK does not have a bi-lateral treaty with?

The application of the general rules of Reciprocal Recognition appears to be the closest point of entry but with presumably more uncertain outcomes. Those countries form the majority of the current EU-member states and more new members are in line already.

evaEva-Maria Braje
AssociateE eva.braje@es-law.de
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