On 7 September, the European Parliament passed a resolution regarding proposals to reform the Brussels Regulation on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters. The resolution adopts all of the proposals for reform contained in the report of the European Parliament’s Committee for Legal Affairs, which was published on 23 June 2010.
The key proposals are:
- The exequatur procedure should be abolished. This concept refers to the decision by a court authorising the enforcement in that country of a judgment, arbitration award, or court settlement given or made abroad.
- The arbitration exception should not be deleted, rather it should make it clear that judicial procedures relating to the validity or extent of arbitral competence are excluded from the scope of the Regulation.
- The court designated in a jurisdiction clause should not be required to stay its proceedings if proceedings are commenced in another court. There should be an associated requirement that any jurisdictional disputes should be decided expeditiously by the chosen court.
- The court designated in a jurisdiction clause should have the option to stay its proceedings where another court is better placed to hear the case.
- The Regulation be amended to give effect to exclusive jurisdiction clauses in favour of the courts of non-European states. Further, in relation to rights in rem in respect of immovable property in non-European states, the rules on exclusive jurisdiction in Article 22 of the Regulation be extended to cover such property.
- Guidance on when a court should grant interim measures in support of proceedings elsewhere should be incorporated into the Regulation.
The Commission will consider this Resolution and formulate its legislative proposals, after which the reforms will move forward under the ordinary legislative procedure. The Commission’s proposal is expected to be published on 14 December 2010.