You are a british citizen


Legal rulings

If the withdrawal agreement is not ratified, judicial cooperation for civil cases will still be possible in the majority of circumstances but there will be significant changes that need to be planned for. For instance, European instruments relating to judicial cooperation in family matters will no longer be applicable; the free circulation of judicial decisions, the service of judicial and extrajudicial documents, and taking of evidence, will no longer be governed by EU regulations.


You are concerned if you are a party to a trial having a connection with the UK. For instance, if you are an individual living in France and being tried by a British court or an individual living in the UK and being tried by a French court. You are also concerned if you are a British legal professional or you qualified in the UK and are practising in France.

If you did not find the answers to your questions on this page, you can contact us at the following address : info-brexit@justice.gouv.fr


  • Imprimer

Frequently

asked questions


  • If the withdrawal agreement is not ratified, what will happen after the withdrawal date regarding cooperation in civil matters (excluding family and insolvency cases) ?
  • The free circulation of judgments will no longer be governed by the Brussels 1 Regulation (recast). This matter will be addressed by the existing bilateral agreement and the ordinary law of each country. The UK could nevertheless ratify the Lugano Convention on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters in the same way as Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. In the absence of a withdrawal agreement, the Hague Convention of 30 June 2005 on Choice of Court Agreements will be applicable between the UK and the EU Member States as from the withdrawal date. These instrument are, however, less effective in terms of streamlining cross-border procedures and ensuring legal certainty.


  • If the withdrawal agreement is not ratified, what will happen after the withdrawal date concerning cooperation in family matters ?
  • Cooperation in family matters will no longer be governed by the Brussels II bis Regulation and the European Regulation relating to maintenance obligations. However, the UK is already party to a number of multilateral conventions that mirror EU legislation (Hague Convention of 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and the Hague Convention of 1996 on the International Protection of Children). In the absence of a withdrawal agreement, the Hague Convention of 23 November 2007 on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance will be applicable between the UK and the EU Member States as from the withdrawal date. However, some matters are not covered by the Hague Conventions and domestic law will therefore have to be applied. For instance, this concerns the rules for court jurisdiction in divorce matters or maintenance obligations, or the recognition and enforcement of marriage-related decisions.


  • If the withdrawal agreement is not ratified, what will happen after the withdrawal date in terms of business law ?
  • The European Regulation on jurisdiction, applicable law and the recognition of insolvency decisions will no longer be applicable and domestic law will apply. The UK’s withdrawal will make cross-border insolvency proceedings both more complicated and less efficient.


  • What will happen with mutual legal assistance after the withdrawal date ?
  • With a withdrawal agreement

    If a withdrawal agreement is definitively ratified, there will be a transition period after the UK leaves which is scheduled to end on 31 December 2020.

    During the transition period, the UK will still be considered to be a Member State without being involved in the functioning of the institutions and will continue to apply EU law and the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union, in particular European legislation in civil and commercial matters.

    Broadly speaking, after the transition period, EU law will continue to apply to civil and commercial legal proceedings initiated prior to the end of that period. One example would be proceedings between a company domiciled in the UK and an individual living in France which are being heard by an English court which has jurisdiction under EU legislation. If the proceedings were instituted prior to the end of the transition period, the English court will continue to have jurisdiction and will apply EU law after the end of the transition period.


    Without a withdrawal agreement

    European regulations on the service of judicial and extrajudicial documents and the taking of evidence will no longer be able to be applied in legal proceedings. They will be replaced by the bilateral agreement and the Hague Conventions which govern such requests but which do not allow direct cooperation in the same way as European instruments, and therefore lead to longer timeframes.

    European rules on legal aid will also be replaced by existing treaties (bilateral agreement and Hague Convention).


  • Will decisions handed down by English courts in civil proceedings still be able to be enforced in France ?
  • With a withdrawal agreement

    If the withdrawal agreement is adopted, decisions handed down in legal proceedings that were initiated prior to the end of the transition period will be enforceable in France under the EU law which governed them prior to withdrawal. Decisions handed down in proceedings instituted after the end of the transition period will be enforced in France on the basis of conditions to be determined as a result of an agreement between the EU and the UK on their future relations.


    Without a withdrawal agreement

    If there is no agreement with the UK, these decisions will no longer be subject to the simplified enforceability procedure. They will only be able to be enforced in France if a French court grants exequatur, after having checked that they were lawfully handed down and that they comply with international public policy.


  • Will commercial litigation which is currently being heard by English courts be able to be ruled on by French courts ?
  • The Paris Commercial Court and the Paris Court of Appeal have set up commercial divisions with judges who have a firm grasp of English and have perfect knowledge of English law. As a result, commercial litigation can now be referred to them by requesting them not only to apply English law but also to hold hearings in English in the same manner as before English courts. The decisions handed down will be translated into English.


  • As regards family law, what will be the legal basis for family-related civil cooperation with the UK ?
  • With a withdrawal agreement

    If the withdrawal agreement is adopted, legal proceedings or requests for cooperation which were initiated prior to the end of the withdrawal period will be subject to the EU legislation which was applicable to them prior to the withdrawal. Requests for cooperation received or decisions handed down in proceedings instituted after the end of the transition period will be enforced in France on the basis of conditions to be determined as a result of an agreement between the EU and the UK on their future relations.


    Without a withdrawal agreement

    If there is no agreement with the UK, the EU’s instruments concerning family-related civil cooperation will no longer apply. Requests will therefore have to be based, inter alia, on the Hague Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, on the Hague Convention of 19 October 1996 on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Co-operation in Respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children and, in respect of maintenance obligations, on the Hague Convention of 23 November 2007 on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance.