Save the Date: “The HCCH 2019 Judgments Convention: Prospects for Judicial Cooperation in Civil Matters between the EU and Third Countries” – Conference on 25 and 26 September 2020, University of Bonn, Germany


As of today, Brexit has become reality – one more reason to think about the EU’s Judicial Cooperation with third states:

The largest proportion of EU economic growth in the 21st century is expected to arise in trade with third countries. This is why the EU is building up trade relations with many states and other regional integration communities in all parts of the world. The latest example is the EU-MERCOSUR Association Agreement concluded on 28 June 2019. With the United Kingdom’s exit of the Union on 31 January 2020, extra-EU trade with neighboring countries will further increase in importance. Another challenge for the EU is China’s “Belt and Road Initiative”, a powerful global development strategy that includes overland as well as sea routes in more than 100 states around the globe.

The increasing volume of trade with third states will inevitably lead to a rise in the number and importance of commercial disputes. This makes mechanisms for their orderly and efficient resolution indispensable. China is already setting up infrastructures for commercial dispute resolution alongside its belts and roads. In contrast, there seems to be no elaborate EU strategy on judicial cooperation in civil matters with countries outside of the Union, despite the DG Trade’s realisation that “trade is no longer just about trade”. Especially, there is no coherent plan for establishing mechanisms for the coordination of cross-border dispute resolution and the mutual recognition and enforcement of judgments. This is a glaring gap in the EU’s policy making in external trade relations (see also, in an earlier post by Matthias Weller  on CoL on this matter: Mutual trust and judicial cooperation in the EU’s external relations – the blind spot in the EU’s Foreign Trade and Private International Law policy?).

This is why the Bonn group of PIL colleagues – Moritz Brinkmann, Nina Dethloff, Matthias Lehmann, Philipp Reuss, and Matthias Weller – are hosting a conference on Friday and Saturday, 25 and 26 September 2020, at the University of Bonn that seeks to explore ways in which judicial cooperation in civil matters between the EU and third countries can be improved by the Hague Judgments Convention of 2019 as an important driver, if not game changer, of legal certainty in cross-border commercial relations.

The list of speakers includes internationally leading scholars, practitioners and experts from the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH), the European Commission (DG Trade, DG Justice), and the German Ministry of Justice and for Consumers (Bundesjustizministerium der Justiz und für Verbraucherschutz).

The Conference is supported by the HCCH as one of the first European events for discussing the HCCH 2019 Convention. The Conference will be further supported by the Zentrum für europäisches Wirtschaftsrecht at the University of Bonn and The International Litigation Exchange (ILEX).

The Organizers will kindly ask participants to contribute with € 75.- to the costs of the event.  


Friday, 25 September 2020, and Saturday, 26 September 2020.


Bonner Universitätsforum, Heussallee 18 – 22


Draft Programme

Friday, 25 September 2020

1.30 p.m.      Registration

2 p.m.           Welcome note

Prof Dr Wulf-Henning Roth, University of Bonn, Director of the Zentrum für Europäisches Wirtschaftsrecht (ZEW)

2.10 p.m.      Part 1: Chances and Challenges of the HCCH 2019 Judgments Convention

Chairs of Part 1: Matthias Weller / Matthias Lehmann

Keynote: Hague Conference’s Perspective and Experiences

Hans van Loon, Former Secretary General of the Hague Conference on Private International Law, The Hague

1. Scope of application

Prof Dr Xandra Kramer, Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam

2. Judgments, Recognition, Enforcement

Prof Dr Wolfgang Hau, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich


3.30 p.m.      Coffee Break

4.00 p.m.      Part 2: Chances and Challenges of the HCCH 2019 Judgments Convention continued

Chairs of Part 2: Prof Dr Nina Dethloff / Prof Dr Moritz Brinkman

3. Jurisdictional filters

Prof Dr Pietro Franzina, Catholic University of Milan

4. Grounds for refusal

Prof Dr Paco Garcimartín, University of Madrid


5.30 p.m.      Part 3: Panel Discussion – Prospects for Judicial Cooperation in Civil Matters between the EU and Third Countries, 60 min:

Chairs of Part 3: Prof Dr Matthias Weller / Prof Dr Matthias Lehmann

Colin Brown, Unit Dispute Settlement and Legal Aspects of Trade Policy, DG Trade (tbc); Andreas Stein, Head of Unit, DG JUST – A1 “Civil Justice”; Dr. Jan Teubel, German Ministry of Justice and for Consumers; RA Dr. Heiko Heppner, Attorney at Law (New York), Barrister and Solicitor Advocate (England and Wales), Chair of ILEX, Head of Dispute Resolution, Partner Dentons, Frankfurt, and perhaps more…


7 p.m.           Conference Dinner


9.30 a.m.      Part 4: The context of the HCCH 2019 Judgments Convention

Chairs: Prof Dr Moritz Brinkmann/Prof Dr Philipp Reuss

5. Relation to the HCCH 2005 Convention on Choice of Court Agreements

Prof Paul Beaumont, University of Stirlin

6. Relations to the Brussels Regime / Lugano Convention

Prof Marie-Elodie Ancel, Université Paris-Est Crétei

7. Brexit…

Dr Pippa Rogerson, Reader in Private International Law, Faculty of Law, Cambridge


11:00 a.m.    Coffee Break

11:30 a.m.    Part 4: The context of the HCCH 2019 Judgments Convention continued

Chairs: Prof Dr Nina Dethloff / Prof Dr Matthias Lehman

8. South European Neighbouring and Candidate Countries

Prof Dr Ilija Rumenov, Ss. Cyril and Methodius University, Skopje, Macedonia


Dr Veronica Ruiz Abou-Nigm, Director of Internationalisation, Senior Lecturer in International Private Law, School of Law, University of Edinburgh

10. Relations to International Commercial Arbitration

Jose Angelo Estrella-Faria, Former Secretary General of UNIDROIT, Senior Legal Officer UNCITRAL Secretariat, International Trade Law Division Office of Legal Affairs, United Nations (tbc)


1 p.m.           Closing Remarks

                     Matthias Weller