Brexit Update: The UK’s Interesting COCA Accession

The United Kingdom deposited its instrument of accession to the Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements yesterday. The UK is currently bound by the Convention, because the European Union approved the Convention in 2015. Under the terms of that approval, the Convention bound all EU states except Denmark. But with Brexit on the horizon, the new accession is not a surprise.

The accession was accompanied by an interesting note verbale. The note explains that the date on which the accession is to become effective (April 1, 2019) is the date on which the UK will leave the EU in the event of a “no-deal Brexit.” If the EU and UK end up approving the Withdrawal Agreement that the UK government negotiated with Brussels but that may not have the votes it needs in Parliament, then the UK, according to the note, will withdraw the instrument of accession and will remain bound by the Convention by virtue of its EU membership during the negotiated “transition period” leading up to the UK’s full withdrawal. That date will be the end of 2020 or later. I suppose that if the Withdrawal Agreement does go through, then at some future date the UK will file a new instrument of accession, to take effect on the appropriate date.

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