Value-added norms, local litigation, and global enforcement : why the Brussels-philosophy failed in The Hague

  • In the early Nineties the Hague Conference on International Private Law on initiative of the United States started negotiations on a Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters (the "Hague Convention"). In October 1999 the Special Commission on duty presented a preliminary text, which was drafted quite closely to the European Convention on Jurisdiction and Enforcement of Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters (the "Brussels Convention"). The latter was concluded between the then 6 Member States of the EEC in Brussels in 1968 and amended several times on occasion of the entry of new Member States. In 2000, after the Treaty of Amsterdam altered the legal basis for judicial co-operation in civil matters in Europe, it was transformed into an EC Regulation (the "Brussels I Regulation"). The 1999 draft of the Hague Convention was heavily criticized by the USA and other states for its European approach of a double convention, regulating not only the recognition and enforcement of judgments, but at the same time the extent of and the limits to jurisdiction to adjudicate in international cases. During a diplomatic conference in June 2001 a second draft was presented which contained alternative versions of several articles and thus resembled more the existing dissent than a draft convention would. Difficulties to reach a consensus remained, especially with regard to activity based jurisdiction, intellectual property, consumer rights and employee rights. In addition, the appropriateness of the whole draft was questioned in light of the problems posed by the de-territorialization of relevant conduct through the advent of the Internet. In April 2002 it was decided to continue negotiations on an informal level on the basis of a nucleus approach. The core consensus as identified by a working group, however, was not very broad. The experts involved came to the conclusion that the project should be limited to choice of court agreements. In March 2004 a draft was presented which sets out its aims as follows: "The objective of the Convention is to make exclusive choice of court agreements as effective as possible in the context of international business. The hope is that the Convention will do for choice of court agreements what the New York Convention of 1958 has done for arbitration agreements." In April 2004 the Special Commission of the Hague Conference adopted a Draft "Convention on Exclusive Choice of Court Agreements", which according to its Art. 2 No. 1 a) is not applicable to choice of court agreements, to which a natural person acting primarily for personal, family or household purposes (a consumer) is a party". The broader project of a global judgments convention thus seems to be abandoned, or at least to be postponed for an unlimited time period. There are - of course - several reasons why the Hague Judgments project failed. Samuel Baumgartner has described an important one as the "Justizkonflikt" between the United States and Europe or, more specifically Germany. Within the context of the general topic of this conference, that is (international) jurisdiction for human rights, in the remainder of this presentation I shall elaborate on the socio-cultural aspects of the impartiality of judgments and their enforcement on a global scale.

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Author:Gralf-Peter CalliessORCiDGND
Parent Title (German):German law journal
Publisher:[s. n.]
Place of publication:Frankfurt, M.
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2005/09/23
Year of first Publication:2004
Publishing Institution:Universit├Ątsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2005/09/23
Page Number:10
First Page:1489
Last Page:1498
Source:in: The Political Economy of Jurisdiction for Human Rights. A US-European Dialogue, German Law Journal Vol 5 No 12 (December 2004),
Institutes:Rechtswissenschaft / Rechtswissenschaft
Dewey Decimal Classification:3 Sozialwissenschaften / 34 Recht / 340 Recht
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht