HCCH a|Bridged - Edition 2021: Enabling party autonomy with the 2005 Choice of Court Convention

On 1 December 2021, the Permanent Bureau had the pleasure of hosting HCCH a|Bridged - Edition 2021, an online event focused on contemporary issues relating to the application of the HCCH 2005 Choice of Court Convention, including the promotion of party autonomy. The event was co-organised by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) Academy for Law, the American Association of Private International Law (ASADIP) and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), with the generous support of the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection of Germany. 

The event commenced with opening remarks by Dr Christophe Bernasconi, Secretary General of the HCCH, followed by a keynote speech by Prof Trevor Hartley, co-author of the Explanatory Report on the 2005 Choice of Court Convention, who outlined the Convention’s origins and main features as well as addressed challenges faced by the Convention. Dr Ning Zhao, Senior Legal Officer at the HCCH, delivered a presentation on the key findings of the responses to Questionnaires on the 2005 Choice of Court Convention circulated among Contracting and Non-Contracting Parties. 

This presentation was followed by two panels of global experts, who discussed the benefits of the Convention for various stakeholders. Discussions were also held against the background of the growing number of international commercial courts around the world. The first panel, moderated by Dr João Ribeiro-Bidaoui, First Secretary at the HCCH, focused on policy discussions on the benefits of joining the Convention for States, including in the context of the global emergence of international commercial courts. The second panel focused on the benefits of the Convention to business and, by extension, practitioners, with Louise Ellen Teitz, Professor at Roger Williams University, as moderator. At this panel, some experts shared the ongoing progress of legislative processes in their respective States. 

Closing remarks were provided by Ignacio Goicoechea, Representative of the HCCH for Latin America and the Caribbean of the HCCH, and Paula Maria All, President of ASADIP. They highlighted the importance of the Convention in enhancing access to justice and in promoting international trade and business, and called on States, in particular those from the region of Latin America and the Caribbean, to join the 2005 Choice of Court Convention for the benefit of their citizens and enterprises. 

The HCCH a|Bridged series, an initiative introduced by the HCCH in 2019, explores innovation in cross-border litigation, civil procedure and dispute resolution, providing an annual forum for experts and stakeholders from around the world to discuss and debate contemporary issues and solutions. Edition 2019 focused on the theme “The HCCH Service Convention in the Era of Electronic and Information Technology”, while Edition 2020 commemorated the Golden Anniversary of the HCCH 1970 Evidence Convention. 

The recordings of HCCH a|Bridged - Edition 2021 are available on the HCCH YouTube channel, with a post-event publication to be released in the near future. Additional information on HCCH a|Bridged - Edition 2021 is available in the Choice of Court Section of the HCCH website.