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In an unprecedented manner, the UK has dealt with its problems around Brexit and its relations with the Contracting States to two HCCH Conventions on the international plane. The Depositary (i.e. the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands) has just announced that the UK has withdrawn its instruments of ratification of the HCCH Child Support Convention and instrument of accession to the HCCH Choice of Court Convention, together with its declarations and extension to Gibraltar, which actually never came into effect and were apparently only a backup option to a no-deal Brexit; see our previous posts (“some Brexit news” part 1, part 2 and part 3 and the more recent post “Brexit: No need to stop all the clocks” here).

As stated in the notification, the reason for the withdrawal of the instruments is the following: “Since the deposit of the Instrument of [Ratification and Accession], the United Kingdom and the European Union have signed, ratified and approved a Withdrawal Agreement, which will enter into force on 1 February 2020 (the “Withdrawal Agreement”). The Withdrawal Agreement includes provisions for a transition period to start on the date the Withdrawal Agreement enters into force and end on 31 December 2020 (the “transition period”). In accordance with the Withdrawal Agreement, during the transition period, European Union law, including the Agreement, will continue to be applicable to and in the United Kingdom” (our emphasis).

In its Note, the UK adds that it intends to deposit new instruments of ratification of and accession to the above-mentioned Conventions prior to the termination of the transition period. It remains to be seen whether the UK will submit the same declarations and whether it will extend those Conventions to Gibraltar.

The Depositary’s notifications are available here for the Child Support Convention and here for the Choice of Court Convention.