A hard Brexit? These are the consequences for international disputes!

The United Kingdom plans to withdraw from the European Union as of 30 March 2019. If the EU and the UK do not reach agreement – a so-called ‘hard Brexit’ – from that date, the UK will no longer be a member of the EU. This has implications for international disputes with Dutch companies. Dutch litigation lawyer Lennard Noordzij explains.

What is the situation?

Currently, the Brussels 1 Regulation lays down rules for the designation of a competent court in a case between, for example, a UK claimant and a Dutch defendant. There are also provisions to facilitate the simple enforcement of a judgment. Currently, a UK judgement can be enforced in the Netherlands without the intervention of a Dutch court.

Consequences of a hard Brexit

If the UK leaves the EU without agreement, those arrangements will no longer apply. In summary, the situation after a hard Brexit will be as follows:

Competent court

  1. The current rules (the Brussels 1 Regulation) will continue to apply to proceedings against a party resident in the United Kingdom initiated before 30 March 2019 in a Dutch court. The Brussels 1 Regulation will no longer apply to proceedings against a party resident in the United Kingdom initiated on or after 30 March 2019 in a Dutch Court – for example under a jurisdiction agreement. The result could be that the Dutch court, which would have had jurisdiction to take cognizance of a dispute between a British and a Dutch party before 30 March 2019, will no longer do so after that date.

Recognition and enforcement of judgements in the Netherlands

  1. Judicial decisions from the United Kingdom which are not enforced in the Netherlands before 30 March 2019 will not be able to be enforced in the Netherlands without the intervention of a Dutch court. This will be true even if:
  • the judge’s decision was issued before 30 March 2019 or
  • the enforcement procedure was initiated before 30 March 2019.

Order for payment procedure and European small claims procedure

  1. The above also applies to the European order for payment procedure for uncontested European monetary claims and the European small claims procedure for disputed European claims of up to €5,000.

Judgement against a Dutch party? Act now!

If you have a judgment from the United Kingdom against a Dutch party, an (undisputed) claim against a party in the United Kingdom or a party from the United Kingdom has a claim against you, it is important to get your situation reviewed as a matter of urgency. Inaction may result in a judgment obtained in the UK becoming worthless or new legal proceedings having to be conducted in the Netherlands, with all the costs that that will entail.

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