A Hague Convention on Jurisdiction and Judgments – Why did the Judgments Project (1992 – 2001) fail?

  • Eva Jueptner

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The ‘Judgments Project’ was the name given to the process of multilateral discussions and negotiations under the auspices of the Hague Conference on Private International Law which took place between 1992 and 2001. This project was a remarkable and important project for various reasons. One purpose was to fill a massive gap in the international legal order by creating a global regime enabling the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments in civil and commercial matters across borders between the Hague Conference Member States and third States. These States included among others the United States of America and the Member States of the European Community. One of the main benefits of the Judgments Project would have been to enable judgment creditors to have their judgments in civil and commercial matters recognised and enforced in all States Parties to the new Convention. In addition, the Hague Judgments Project was the first serious attempt of the Hague Conference since the 19th century to unify rules of international direct jurisdiction, concerning the power of courts to hear civil and commercial proceedings with an international element, on a broad scale. This ambitious project to create a global double convention (in the broad sense) failed, however, after almost ten years of negotiations, and after an enormous amount of resources on the part of both the Hague Conference Member States and the secretariat of the Hague Conference, the Permanent Bureau, had been spent. This thesis shows that the main reason for the failure of the project was the lack of preparation of the informal inter-state negotiations by the Permanent Bureau commensurate to the complexity of the endeavour. Moreover, the thesis establishes that in order for the 2010 revived Hague Judgments Project to succeed, a project which was partially concluded in 2019, it will be vital for the Permanent Bureau as well as for the Hague Conference Member States to draw lessons from the failure of the original Judgments Project. In particular, it will be essential that the Permanent Bureau expands the preparatory work on international direct jurisdiction in the context of the Hague Jurisdiction Project, and starts working towards creating a mixed convention as recommended by the American scholar Arthur T von Mehren.
Date of Award2020
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorAude Fiorini (Supervisor), Peter McEleavy (Supervisor) & Pamela Ferguson (Supervisor)


  • Hague Conference on Private International Law
  • International direct jurisdiction
  • Recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments
  • Unification

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