US and EC Join Mexico in Signing Choice of Court Treaty
Unlike in the field of international arbitration, there has been no international treaty framework for litigation that accomplishes this. Mexico and the US,
for example, have enforced each other's judgments based on international comity alone. The enforceability of judgments has therefore been
varied and uncertain, leading many parties to choose to arbitrate international disputes rather than to take their chances with domestic courts. The
Convention seeks to provide certainty as to the enforcement of litigation judgments.
The Convention applies to international civil or commercial cases where the parties have entered into an exclusive choice of court agreement. An
"exclusive choice of court agreement" is an agreement between two or more parties that designates the courts (or one or more specific courts) of one
Contracting State for the purpose of deciding disputes which may arise in connection with the parties' legal relationship. Under this definition, a
court will presume that the contractual designation of the courts of one Contracting State is exclusive, unless the parties expressly provide otherwise.
The choice of court agreement must be concluded or documented in writing or by any other means of communication that makes the information
usable for subsequent reference (e.g., e-mail).
The Convention defines an "international" case differently for purposes of jurisdiction and for purposes of enforcing judgments. For the provisions
relating to jurisdiction (Chapter II of the Convention), a case is "international" unless the parties are residents of the same state and both their
relationship and the elements of their dispute only involve that state. To come within Chapter II of the Convention, the parties cannot choose a court in
a foreign state as their "chosen court." For purposes of recognition and enforcement of judgments (Chapter III of the Convention), the case is
"international" as long as the judgment was rendered in a court of one Contract