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Summaries of EU Legislation

Strengthening cooperation with Switzerland, Norway and Iceland: the Lugano Convention

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Strengthening cooperation with Switzerland, Norway and Iceland: the Lugano Convention

 

SUMMARY OF:

Convention on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters

Council Decision 2009/430/EC — conclusion of the Convention on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters

WHAT IS THE AIM OF THE CONVENTION AND THE DECISION?

The Convention aims to achieve the same level of circulation of judgments between the EU countries and Switzerland, Norway and Iceland. Known as the new Lugano Convention, it replaces the Lugano Convention of 1988.

The decision concludes the convention on behalf of the European Community (now the EU). It also establishes the declarations to be made at the time of depositing the instrument of ratification (annexed to the decision).

KEY POINTS

Application

The convention applies to jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters.

It does not apply to:

  • tax, customs and administrative matters;
  • the status and legal capacity of natural persons;
  • rights in property arising from matrimonial relationships;
  • wills and succession;
  • bankruptcy or composition;
  • social security or arbitration.

Achieving a high level of circulation of judgments

The convention, signed by the European Community, along with Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland, was to come into force once it is ratified by the signatories. Denmark was a separate contracting party to this convention, because it had opted out of the then Brussels I regulation (Council Regulation (EC) No 44/2001) — subsequently replaced by Regulation (EU) No 1215/2012 on court jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters.

The contracting parties deposit their instruments of ratification with the Swiss Federal Council, which serves as depositary of the convention. On coming into force, the convention is open to:

  • future members of the European Free Trade Association;
  • EU countries acting on behalf of certain non-European territories that are part of their territory (for example French overseas territories such as Nouméa) or for whose external relations they are responsible;
  • any other state, subject to the unanimous agreement of all the contracting parties.

Based on the rules applicable between EU countries

The convention follows the present rules of the EU on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters between EU countries. This means that the rules are similar in the EU and in Switzerland, Norway and Iceland. The convention also facilitates the mutual recognition and enforcement of judgments handed down by the national courts of these countries.

The convention requires that, in general, persons domiciled (legally resident) in a state bound by the convention are sued in that state, whatever their nationality. However, it also provides for special rules of jurisdiction in certain matters, such as:

  • contracts: the courts of the country where the obligation is enforced have jurisdiction;
  • maintenance: jurisdiction resides with the courts of the place where the maintenance creditor (the person entitled to the payments for which the judgment provides) is domiciled or habitually resident;
  • tort (a wrongful act or an infringement of a right giving rise to injury or harm), delict (a wrongful act for which the person injured has the right to a civil remedy) or quasi-delict (a negligent act or omission which causes harm or damage to the person or property of another, and thus exposes a person to civil liability in civil law jurisdictions): jurisdiction resides with the courts of the place where the harmful event occurred or may occur.

The convention also provides for specific jurisdictions in matters relating to:

  • insurance;
  • consumer contracts; and
  • individual contracts of employment.

Jurisdiction in matters relating to tenancies (possession of land or property as a tenant) and real property rights resides exclusively with the courts of the contracting state in which the property is situated.

A number of protocols are annexed to the convention, among other things to ensure that the convention is interpreted as uniformly as possible.

FROM WHEN DO THE DECISION AND THE CONVENTION APPLY?

The decision has applied since 27 November 2009. The convention entered into force between the EU and Norway on 1 January 2010, between the EU and Switzerland on 1 January 2011 and between the EU and Iceland on 1 May 2011, in accordance with Article 69(5) of the convention.

BACKGROUND

The signing of the convention marked a major institutional development. In its Opinion 1/03, the Court of Justice confirmed that the European Community was exclusively competent to conclude the new Lugano Convention. Signed on 30 October 2007, the convention is a key part of EU law and runs for an unlimited period.

MAIN DOCUMENTS

Convention on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters (OJ L 147, 10.6.2009, pp. 5-43)

Successive amendments to the agreement have been incorporated in the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

Council Decision 2009/430/EC of 27 November 2008 concerning the conclusion of the Convention on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters (OJ L 147, 10.6.2009, pp. 1-4)

RELATED DOCUMENTS

Convention on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters, signed in Lugano on 30 October 2007 — Explanatory report by Professor Fausto Pocar (Holder of the Chair of International Law at the University of Milan) (OJ C 319, 23.12.2009, pp. 1-56)

Procès-verbal of rectification to the Convention on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters, signed at Lugano on 30 October 2007 (OJ L 18, 21.1.2014, pp. 70-71)

Procès-verbal of rectification to the Convention on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters, signed at Lugano on 30 October 2007 (OJ L 147, 10.6.2009, p. 44)

last update 31.07.2018

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