The Enforcement of Jurisdiction Agreements Under the Brussels I Regulation: Reconsidering the Principle of Party Autonomy

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Abstract:

This paper examines the enforcement of jurisdiction agreements within the scope of the Brussels I Regulation, laws that seek to harmonise cross-border civil and commercial litigation within the European Union. Analysing the Regulation's legislative rules and associated European Court of Justice jurisprudence relating to the enforcement of jurisdiction agreements reveals that jurisdiction agreements are not uniformly enforced and not fully effective. Consequently, remedies for these underlying problems are examined. First, the paper examines the awarding of damages for breach of a jurisdiction agreement. Second, the European Commission issued Green Paper proposals relating to regulatory reform of the Regulation are evaluated. The paper concludes by suggesting that the most concrete solution to the unenforceability of jurisdiction agreements would be amending the Regulation by reversing the legislative obligation to suspend litigation proceedings by conditionally favoring the court chosen by the parties in the jurisdiction agreement rather than the court first seized. This suggestion aligns with the general purpose and conception of the Regulation and revives the neglected principle of party autonomy.

Keywords: EUROPEAN COMMUNITY REGULATION 44/2001; JURISDICTION AGREEMENTS; THE BRUSSELS I REGULATION

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5235/174410410794046305

Publication date: December 1, 2010

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