International Civil Procedural Law: the Revised Lugano Convention Goes Into Effect on January 1, 2010

17 February 2010

The revised Lugano Convention (hereinafter “Lugano II”) on jurisdiction and the enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters went into effect on January 1, 2010. The modification was approved by the European Union (hereinafter “EU”) on May 18, 2009 by all member states except Denmark, which signed on September 24th.

It thus replaces the previous Convention (hereinafter “Lugano I”) between members of the then European Community and the European Free Trade Association, signed on September 16, 1988.

As a consequence of Norway’s signing of the new Convention on July 1, 2009, Lugano II went into effect in the EU and Norway on January 1, 2010. Iceland and Switzerland have yet to ratify the Convention and the previous Lugano Convention of 1988 (Lugano I) still applies in these countries.

The new Convention now covers an additional 11 new EU member states (the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, Malta, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria and Romania) which were not a party to Lugano I.

The Lugano Convention, along with Council Regulation (EC) 44/2001 and Council Regulation (EC) 2001/2003 on jurisdiction, recognition and enforcement of judgments in matrimonial matters and in matters of parental responsibility constitute the essential core of European legal cooperation in civil matters.

With this modification, Lugano I has been adapted to the provisions of Council Regulation (EC) 44/2001, as articles 1 to 61 of Lugano II are practically identical to same.

Unlike Lugano I, the European Court of Justice shall have jurisdiction to issue preliminary rulings on the interpretation of the convention since it was approved by the Union. However, it is worth bearing in mind that these rulings would only be binding for member states.


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