The Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements 2005 an Overview
December 4, 2021

The Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements 2005, commonly known as the Hague Convention, is an international treaty that governs jurisdiction and enforcement of international commercial contracts. The Convention primarily aims to promote international trade by establishing a clear and predictable framework for resolving disputes arising from cross-border business transactions.

The Hague Convention provides rules for determining which court or courts of a Contracting State have jurisdiction to hear disputes arising from international commercial agreements. It also provides for the recognition and enforcement of judgments issued by the courts of Contracting States in accordance with the rules set forth in the Convention.

The Convention applies to exclusive choice of court agreements concluded in civil or commercial matters, where the parties to the agreement are domiciled or have their habitual residence in different Contracting States. The Convention does not apply to non-exclusive choice of court agreements, consumer contracts, or employment contracts.

One of the key features of the Hague Convention is the principle of party autonomy. This principle allows parties to an international commercial contract to choose the court or courts that will have exclusive jurisdiction to hear any disputes arising from the contract. The chosen court must be located in a Contracting State to the Convention. The choice of court agreement must also meet certain formal requirements, including being in writing or evidenced in writing, and being clear and precise.

Another important aspect of the Hague Convention is the recognition and enforcement of judgments. Under the Convention, a judgment issued by a court of a Contracting State in accordance with an exclusive choice of court agreement must be recognized and enforced in other Contracting States, subject to certain limited grounds for refusal. This provides greater certainty and predictability for businesses engaged in cross-border transactions, as they can be assured that their judgments will be recognized and enforced in other Contracting States.

At present, the Hague Convention has been ratified by 32 countries, including the European Union and several of its member states. While the Convention has not yet been widely adopted, it is expected to become increasingly important in the context of international commercial transactions and dispute resolution.

In conclusion, the Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements 2005 is a significant development in the field of international commercial law. Its rules provide greater certainty and predictability for businesses engaged in cross-border transactions, as well as a clear framework for resolving disputes arising from such transactions. While it has not yet been widely adopted, the Convention has the potential to become an important tool for promoting international trade and investment.