The European Parliamentary Research Service of the European Parliament has issued on November 18th, 2021, a Briefing on The United Kingdom’s possible re-joining of the 2007 Lugano Convention.
The summary of the briefing reads as follows:
The 2007 Lugano Convention is an international treaty that regulates the free movement of court judgments in civil cases between the Member States of the EU, on one hand, and the three EFTA states (Switzerland, Norway and Iceland), on the other. The convention effectively extends the regime of quasi-automatic recognition and enforcement of judgments that was applicable between EU Member States at the time under the Brussels I Regulation (No 44/2001).
Whereas the EU rules currently in force regulating the free movement of judgments in civil cases between the EU Member States – the 2012 Brussels I-bis Regulation (1215/2012) – bring about an even higher level of integration and presume, therefore, a very high level of mutual trust between the national judiciaries of the Member States, relations between the EU and EFTA Member States remain at the level of integration prescribed in 2001 by the Brussels I Regulation.
Following the expiry of the transition period provided for by the Withdrawal Agreement between the United Kingdom (UK) and the EU, the UK is no longer bound by either the Brussels I-bis Regulation or the 2007 Lugano Convention. Given the fact that the latter is open not only to EU and EFTA Member States, but also explicitly to third countries, the UK has made a bid to re-join the Lugano Convention. For a third country to become part of this legal regime, all parties to the convention must give their explicit consent. Whereas this has been the case with Switzerland, Norway and Iceland, the European Commission, acting on behalf of the EU as a party to the 2007 Lugano Convention, has indicated that it is not prepared to grant such consent, effectively blocking – for the moment – the UK’s reintegration within the Lugano regime of mutual recognition of civil judgments.
For the Commission, accession to the Lugano regime is bound up with the notion of close economic integration with the EU, presupposing a high level of mutual trust. Participation in the Lugano system should not therefore be offered to any third country that is not part of the internal market.
Quite disappointing because a mere repetition of the Commission’s arguments. Switzerland is not a part of the Internal Market either, but nevertheless is party to the Lugano Convention. The Convention is about judicial cooperation and not economic integration. It covers much wider areas than just trade relationships.