The Recast of the Brussels I Regulation: Old and New Features of the European Regime on Jurisdiction and the Recognition of Judgments

Letters Blogatory warmly welcomes guest poster Pietro Franzina, Associate Professor at the University of Ferrara, with a post on the recast Brussels I. I think the European experience is likely to be of particular interest to American lawyers these days, with the current debates about the ratification and implementation of COCA and the renewed activity in the Hague concerning the “Judgments Project.” Welcome, Pietro! This post will be followed tomorrow by a contribution by IJA Brigade member Fanny Cornette, so stay tuned.

A body of uniform rules governing the jurisdiction of courts in cross-border cases and the recognition of judgments in civil and commercial matters has been in place in Europe since the 1970s, following the entry into force of the Brussels Convention of 27 September 1968. The Convention has subsequently been replaced by Regulation (EC) No. 44/2001 of 22 December 2000 (the Brussels I regulation), a legislative measure adopted by the European institutions pursuant to the competences that the Member States have since ceded to the European Union in the field of private international law (or ‘judicial cooperation in civil matters,’ as the discipline is officially known in the Union’s parlance).

The publication of a Green Paper in 2009 marked the beginning of the review process of the Brussels I Regulation. Following the presentation of a proposal by the European Commission in 2010, a new regulation—Regulation (EU) No. 1215/2012 (the Brussels I a regulation)—was adopted on 12 December 2012. The latter is in fact a recast of the existing provisions and is intended to replace the Brussels I Regulation altogether. It will apply as of 10 January 2015 to legal proceedings instituted (and to judgments rendered) on or after that date.

While retaining the overall structure of its predecessors, Regulation No. 1215/2012 brings about a number of innovations. The goal is to further simplify the movement of judgments from one Member State to another, to enhance legal certainty as regards the jurisdiction of Member States’ courts, and to ensure that lis pendens and other forms of transnational parallel litigation are effectively dealt with in Member States’ courts.

The purpose of this post is to provide a short account of the rules concerning jurisdiction and parallel proceedings laid down in the Brussels I a regulation. The new provisions relating to the recognition and enforcement of judgments—incidentally, the area where the most innovative amendments have been introduced—will be examined by Fanny Cornette in a separate post.

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