The House of Lords’ influential European Union Committee (chaired by Lord Mance) has published a report on the Commission’s Green Paper on the Brussels I Regulation. The report scrutinises the Green Paper, in light of evidence presented by representatives of the UK Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach and Oliver Parker) and Richard Fentiman of Cambridge University, and considers all of the topics raised by the Commission (and discussed on these pages). The evidence is appended at the back of the report.
The Committee’s conclusion (in contrast, for example, to its view on the proposed Rome II Regulation) is favourable:
We very much welcome the Commission’s initiative in producing the Report and the proposals outlined in the Green Paper. While the Regulation has been successful, in particular by introducing clear common rules, there have undoubtedly been areas where some of the rules have, in practice, opened up the possibility for abuse contrary to the interests of justice. This opportunity should be taken to reform the rules with the aim of minimising abuse and to make other useful reforms. We hope the Commission will, following the conclusion of its consultation, move quickly to bring forward proposals to amend the Regulation.
The report is an important contribution to the debate surrounding the proposed reforms to the Brussels I Regulation, and emphasises the need to extend the consultation process beyond any Proposal by the Commission to allow all stakeholders to contribute to the improvement of this, the central instrument of European private international law.