Irwin Mitchell Team Advise On Future Of Civil Disputes
With days rather than weeks remaining before the end of the transition period, a webinar hosted by Irwin Mitchell outlined the uncertainty that remains concerning cross-border disputes and what the potential outcomes could mean for individuals and businesses.
Entitled ‘Cross-Border Civil Disputes Beyond Brexit’ the hour long webinar was attended by organisations and individuals from across the UK and Europe, concerned with the likely legal landscape, in the event of deal or no deal, come 31 December.
Hosted by Irwin Mitchell lawyers Cheryl Palmer-Hughes and Jane Anderson, the pair were joined by barristers Sarah Prager and Conor Kennedy from 1 Chancery Lane to discuss the current position on disputes and enforcement in connection with Brexit and conventions like Lugano.
Irwin Mitchell has a Brexit Hub which aims to answer many key questions as Brexit draws near and with still no agreement reached with the EU, the webinar explored the key points on cross border claims from both the individual and commercial perspectives.
After 31 December, the current position will change completely, with added complexities surrounding cross-border disputes, such as may arise in an international supply chain. The starting point of choosing jurisdiction and law for these disputes can be difficult, particularly where the dispute involves multiple parties and, or, where there are no exclusive jurisdiction clauses contained in the contract(s) between the parties.
As the UK has not yet reached an agreement on post Brexit rules governing jurisdiction in cross-border disputes and enforcement regimes with current EU Member States, this complexity is likely to be magnified and while the future was not described as bleak, it remains unclear.
The speakers discussed the likely effect of the UK joining the Lugano Convention post-Brexit and what that might mean in practice, in terms of advantages and disadvantages.
While a technical subject, the outcome on issues like Lugano stand to have considerable implications for those bringing or defending claims in the future and attendees posed a number of questions and theoretical examples for the panellists to review and answer.
On enforcement of judgments, this is now straightforward and clear and while Brexit represents uncertainty in this area, there may be less change than people think, as some EU nations are still unwilling to enforce judgments from UK courts under the current system.
Jane Anderson, a practice development lawyer at Irwin Mitchell on the panel, said: “For a technical subject, we had a broad range of attendees and the questions posed from an informed and knowledgeable audience were food for thought and we all got a great deal out of it.
“The overwhelming picture was one of moving from a straightforward and clear position from an individual and commercial perspective, to one of uncertainty. With regard to Lugano, the deadline has in theory come and gone, so subject to a deal with the EU, there may be a three month wait before the UK can join the Convention and other EU member states have to agree to the UK joining in any event.
“While not perfect, the panel agreed Lugano would be the preferred option, but whatever happens, the immediate future is likely to be one of increased costs and an overall slower legal process.
Expert Opinion“The discussion represented an opportunity for an informed discussion on many of the key considerations and if people have concerns, they should seek legal advice and consider taking action now if they wish to benefit from the certainty of arrangements currently in place.” Cheryl Palmer-Hughes - Partner
For further information and a clear guide on the areas that you should be focussing on in relation to Brexit, visit our Brexit hub.