Jurisdiction Project

About the Jurisdiction Project

In 1992, the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) commenced work on two key aspects of private international law in cross-border litigation in civil and commercial matters: the international jurisdiction of courts; and the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments (the Judgments Project). While the original objective of the Project was to harmonise the rules in both areas through one single convention, the Project was subsequently scaled down to focus only on international cases involving choice of court agreements. This in turn led to the conclusion of the Convention of 30 June 2005 on Choice of Court Agreements (2005 Choice of Court Convention). For more information on the 2005 Choice of Court Convention, see the Choice of Court Section.

In 2011, at the request of the Council on General Affairs and Policy of the HCCH (CGAP), work was undertaken to study recent developments in the field with the aim to assess the possible merits of resuming work in this area. It was decided to strive for a more general instrument on recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments that would provide for a wider set of bases for their circulation among Contracting States, without prescribing any rules on “direct” jurisdiction. Additionally, it was decided to resume the work on jurisdiction, including exorbitant grounds and lis pendens / declining jurisdiction, upon the conclusion of the future instrument. This work eventually culminated in the conclusion of the Convention of 2 July 2019 on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Civil or Commercial Matters (2019 Judgments Convention). For more information on the 2019 Judgments Convention, see the Judgments Section.

With the successful conclusion of the 2019 Judgments Convention, the focus of the normative work of the HCCH in the area of civil and commercial law has now turned again to the question of jurisdiction: on which grounds should the parties to a civil or commercial dispute be able to seise the courts of a certain State; on which grounds can a State exercise jurisdiction in civil and commercial matters; how can harmonised rules in this area reduce the risk of parallel litigation in multiple States?

The search for an answer to these questions was put on hold during the negotiations of both the 2005 Choice of Court Convention and 2019 Judgments Conventions; the work of the HCCH on this last piece of the puzzle has now begun.

Mandate

In 2011, CGAP concluded that an Experts’ Group should be established to assess the possible merits of resuming the Judgments Project.

In 2012, CGAP concluded that a Working Group should be established, with the initial task of proposing provisions for inclusion in a future instrument relating to the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments. Furthermore, CGAP requested that work also be undertaken by an Experts’ Group on the desirability and feasibility of developing provisions in relation to matters of jurisdiction (including parallel proceedings) in this or another instrument.

The Experts’ Group met on two different occasions, once in 2012 and once in 2013, to discuss the desirability and feasibility of making provisions in relation to matters of jurisdiction (including parallel proceedings) in an instrument dealing with both international jurisdiction and recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments or in a separate instrument.

Later in 2013, it was decided that the Experts’ Group should resume its work once an instrument addressing recognition and enforcement was complete.

Between 2014 and 2018, CGAP repeatedly reiterated that work relating to direct jurisdiction (including exorbitant grounds and lis pendens / declining jurisdiction) should be resumed by the Experts’ Group after the conclusion of the future instrument on recognition and enforcement.

In 2019, CGAP confirmed the mandate given to the Permanent Bureau to plan a further meeting of the Experts’ Group addressing matters relating to jurisdiction with a view to preparing an additional instrument. Further to this request by CGAP, a further meeting of the Experts' Group will be held in February 2020.

Key documents on the Jurisdiction Project:

Recent developments (Diplomatic Session) (2019) 

Development of the Judgments Convention (2013-2018) 

Special Commission meetings (2016-2018):

Working Group meetings (2013-2015):

     Working Group meeting 5:

     Working Group meeting 4:

     Working Group meeting 3:

     Working Group meeting 2:

     Working Group meeting 1:

Preparation for the continuation of the Judgments Project (2010-2013)

Experts’ Group meeting 2

Experts’ Group meeting 1

Response to the Preliminary Draft Convention (2000-2001)

Preparation of a Preliminary Draft Convention (1997-1999) 

Preliminary work (1992-1996)