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New EU Courts’ Jurisdiction Rules as of 10 January 2015

New EU rules for jurisdiction, recognition and enforcement of judgments will apply to proceedings as of 10 January 2015 pursuant to the recast Brussels I Regulation (Regulation (EU) 1215/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council).

The recast Regulation includes some significant changes regarding the following issues: non-EU party to a lawsuit sued in an EU Member State court; delay of proceedings in the chosen Member State court by the defendant; recognition and enforcement of a Member State judgment elsewhere in the EU; arbitration.

The Brussels I regime regulates matters of jurisdiction between EU Member State courts where the defendant is an EU-domiciled. The recast Regulation now clarifies and expands the circumstances in which a non-EU defendant can be sued in a Member State court under the Regulation.

The recast Regulation provides for an exception to the basic “court first seised” rule where there is an exclusive jurisdiction clause in favour of a Member State court and proceedings have been commenced in that court. In those circumstances the chosen court has priority regardless of which court was first seised.

The Regulation 1215/2012 has done away with the exequatur procedure, however, certain safeguards have been introduced for judgment debtors.

The recast Regulation now clarifies that there is an absolute exclusion of arbitration from its scope so that any Member State court can examine the validity of an arbitration agreement or refer parties to arbitration and need not to wait for the decision of another Member State court on the validity of an arbitration agreement.