Tuesday 4 May 2021 6:13 pm

Brussels recommends member states block UK from Lugano Convention

The EU Commission has recommended that the EU does not give consent for the UK to join the Lugano Convention, an international legal pact.

In an update today, the EU Commission said the Convention was designed to support third countries with particularly close regulatory integration with the EU, including being aligned with part of the EU acquis.

“The Commission takes the view that the European Union should not give
its consent to the accession of the United Kingdom to the 2007 Lugano Convention.” the EU Commission said.

“For the European Union, the Lugano Convention is a flanking measure of the internal market and
relates to the EU-EFTA/EEA context. In relation to all other third countries the consistent
policy of the European Union is to promote cooperation within the framework of the
multilateral Hague Conventions.

“The United Kingdom is a third country without a special link to the internal market. Therefore, there is no reason for the European Union to depart from its general approach in relation to the United Kingdom.

“Consequently, the Hague Conventions should provide the framework for future cooperation between the European Union and the United Kingdom in the field of civil judicial cooperation.”

The Lugano Convention applied to the UK until 31 January 2020 via membership of the EU.

The convention allows legal judgements to be enforced across borders, with all EU countries plus Norway, Switzerland and Iceland members of the pact.

It means that consumers are able to take companies based in different countries to court domestically if they are unhappy with a product, for example.

The UK applied to join the Lugano Convention in order to maintain stability on previous legal judgements on cross-border disputes.

Brussels’ decision will reportedly be at odds with several EU countries, including the Baltic nations and the Netherlands, that are said to support the UK joining.

TheCityUK CEO Miles Celic said it was “hard to understand” the recommendation.

“All of the non-EU parties to Lugano: Iceland, Norway and Switzerland, have indicated their support for the UK’s application and a relationship with the Single Market is not listed as a requirement of membership of the Convention,” he continued.

“We now hope that EU Member States will vote to support the UK’s application, as doing so has clear benefits for the citizens of all signatories to the treaty. However, other mechanisms exist which mean UK court judgments will continue to be enforceable throughout EU and EFTA.”