Recognition and Enforcement of Judgments (2019 Hague Convention etc.) Regulations 2024 Debate

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Department: Ministry of Justice

Recognition and Enforcement of Judgments (2019 Hague Convention etc.) Regulations 2024

Lord Hope of Craighead Excerpts
Friday 24th May 2024

(1 month, 3 weeks ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd Portrait Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd (CB)
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My Lords, I warmly welcome this instrument. It is a singular achievement that we have done this. To an extent, it will remedy the EU’s refusal to allow us to accede to the Lugano Convention. As the Minister said, it is extremely important in making sure that litigants who come to this country know that their judgements will now be much more easily enforceable. I add that the Arbitration Bill which was before this House would have achieved exactly the same objectives. It is extremely important to the international position of London as an arbitration and litigation centre that we keep our law up to date.

I thank all noble Lords—the Minister, in particular, as well as the Whips and the Government Chief Whip, the Leader of His Majesty’s Loyal Opposition and their Chief Whip, and others on their Front-Bench team—and others in the other place for all they did to try to get the Law Commission Bill into the wash-up. A lot of loud noise was made, but it did not succeed.

I want to look forward and say that it is critical that overseas litigants who might choose London to have their disputes arbitrated, whether in contracts now or for the future, realise that this is, I hope, but a temporary hiccup and that we will find the means, with the co-operation of the Government and the Opposition, whichever roles they may be playing, and with the welcome support of those on the Liberal Benches, to go forward without having to go through it all over again. The Bill was agreed. There is one small amendment to be made to clarify something, but I hope we can get it on to the statute book as early as possible. It is a Bill that would help this country make money, and that, I am sure everybody agrees, is an imperative.

I thank the Minister enormously for what he has done while he has been in his position. As a Minister in the Ministry of Justice, he has laboured mightily on many matters, but I thank him in particular for what he has done to ensure that London stays at the forefront in the highly competitive world of dispute resolution in court and in arbitration.

Lord Hope of Craighead Portrait Lord Hope of Craighead (CB)
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My Lords, I too very much welcome this measure for various reasons, which are set out very well in the Explanatory Memorandum. Some of the features which are set out in it are the care that has been taken to consult at various stages, the response to the consultation, and working together across the various jurisdictions within the United Kingdom to achieve harmony in the way we respond to the challenge that this convention has presented us with. The result is a happy one, and I am very happy to offer my support for this measure.

I join with the noble and learned Lord, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, in his remarks about the Arbitration Bill. For the reasons he has given, it is extremely important that this Bill be brought back at the earliest possible opportunity and with the least possible complication. I know that there are procedures that always have to be gone through for Law Commission Bills, but it was very thoroughly debated at all its stages. It was really ready to go and it is a great disappointment that it has been lost because of the calling of the election. I hope that all those involved can move quickly to bring the Bill back, so that we can get the benefits the noble and learned Lord has identified.

Lastly, I join with him in expressing great appreciation for all that the noble and learned Lord the Minister has done in his position on behalf of the Ministry of Justice. It has been a pleasure to work with him and we wish him well for the future.

Lord Hacking Portrait Lord Hacking (Lab)
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My Lords, I do not know whether my noble friend Lord Ponsonby is going to intervene, but I would just like to endorse entirely what the noble and learned Lords, Lord Thomas and Lord Hope, have just said. I speak as a member of the Public Bills Committee, which was so well chaired by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Thomas, and I hope my side of the House or the Minister’s side of the House will quickly bring back the Arbitration Bill, for all the reasons given by the two noble and learned Lords.