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Montenegro Ratifies Hague Choice of Court Convention

(Only) last week, the government of the Netherlands – the depositary of the Convention – has informed the Permanent Bureau of the Hague Conference on Private International Law that Montenegro ratified the 2005 Hague Choice of Court Convention on 18 April 2018, with the Convention entering into force for Montenegro on 1 August 2018. This brings the number of Contracting Parties to 32 (the EU, all member states (since 30 May 2018 including Denmark), Mexico, Singapore, and Montenegro), with three others (China, Ukraine, and the United States) having signed but not ratified the Convention.

Pursuant to its Articles 1(1), 3(a), and 16(1), exclusive choice-of-court agreements designating Montenegro concluded after 1 August 2018 must be given effect under the Convention by all Contracting States (except Denmark, for which it only enters into force on 1 September 2018). Montenegro must give the same effect to all such agreements designating other Contracting States as long as they have been concluded after the Convention entered into force for the designated state (EU and Mexico: 1 October 2015; Singapore: 1 October 2016; Denmark: 1 September 2018).

The Convention has repeatedly been mentioned as an option for the UK to maintain a minimum of cooperation in the area of civil justice with the EU, should a more comprehensive agreement not be reached (see Dickinson ZEuP 2017, 539, 560–62; Rühl (2018) 67 ICLQ 127–28; Sonnentag, Die Konsequenzen des Brexits (Mohr 2017), 89–91). It should be noted, though, that even if the UK ratified the Convention the very day of its withdrawal from the EU on 29 March 2019, it would only enter into force three months later, on 1 July 2019 (see Art 31(1)).

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