Document Type


Publication Date

January 2012


The European Commission has proposed to amend (recast) the Brussels I Regulation, which governs jurisdiction to adjudicate, parallel proceedings, and judgments recognition within the European Union. Although much of the Brussels I Regulation is simply the 1968 Brussels Convention cast into European Union legislation, the proposed amendments are part of a deeper set of structural and conceptual changes in the law of transnational litigation within the Union over the past couple of decades. Understanding these changes is essential to understanding what drives the proposed amendments and what is likely to follow.

In this paper – presented at the symposium Our Courts and the World at Southwestern Law School on February 3, 2012 – I focus on the European Union’s regime of recognizing and enforcing judgments. I first set out the current regime under the Brussels I Regulation and then explore the larger structural and conceptual changes in the transnational litigation law of the European Union that have taken place over the last two decades. On this basis, I then discuss the proposed amendments to the Brussels I Regulation that bear on judgments recognition (including the envisioned extension of the Regulation’s jurisdictional regime to defendants from non-member countries). I conclude with an analysis of the importance of both the proposed amendments and the larger changes explored for litigants and law reformers in the United States.

Publication Title

Southwestern Journal of International Law