Quotes from Hogan Lovells in response to reports that the Commission is due to publish a positive assessment of Britain's application to join the Lugano convention

Press releases | 12 April 2021

Paul Chaplin, counsel at Hogan Lovells’ Litigation, Arbitration and Employment practice, said: “Effective civil judicial co-operation between trading nations can represent an important pillar for businesses in those nations to trade freely. As such, in response to the news reports today that the European Commission is set to endorse the UK’s accession to the Lugano Convention, this is very welcome news for businesses both sides of the English Channel.”

“The news will come as a surprise to many in the UK who for the last 12 months had faced resistance in the EU on the basis that accession to the Lugano Convention was an inherent benefit of being part of the “EU club”. The UK Government had been lobbying hard in various European capitals and these noteworthy efforts appear to have paid off.”

“The Lugano Convention is a developed system of civil judicial co-operation and the UK’s accession to it would avert many of the challenges that businesses have been grappling with over the past four months in this area. Practically, if the UK’s accession is ratified by the European Council, Claimants will be able to rely on a more streamlined and cost-efficient and reciprocal mechanism for enforcing UK judgments in the EU and vice versa (as well as in a number of EFTA States). The Lugano Convention will also assist in determining which court hears a dispute”

“Businesses must still bear in mind that any recommendation by the European Commission will have to be approved by the European Council, and that even then there will be a lag of three months before the Lugano Convention takes effect as against the UK.”

Robert Gardener, Director of Government Affairs at Hogan Lovells’ Global Regulatory practice, said: “There is no doubting the global credibility and demand for the English courts, and substantively, it appears that the Commission has recognised the significant value to EU businesses and citizens of the UK’s accession to the Lugano Convention. However, there is also an important and timely political reality to this. Firstly, the UK has not only been making its case in Brussels; it has been engaging directly with Member State capitals across the EU. Movement in a positive direction at least suggests that deals can still be done via Member States, and not just with the Commission. Secondly, relations between the UK and EU have been strained in many policy areas over the past few months, from vaccinations to Northern Ireland. If the EU were to allow the UK to accede to the Lugano Convention, that may evidence the co-operative basis on which the EU is prepared to deal with the UK, and perhaps help to spritz wider attitudes on both sides of the English Channel.”