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The Private International Law (Implementation of Agreements) Bill [HL] is a government bill, promoted by the Ministry of Justice. It was introduced in the House of Lords on 27 February 2020 and is scheduled to receive its second reading on 17 March 2020.

Private international law (PIL) consists of the principles and rules for dealing with certain cross-border legal disputes. Countries may enter into international PIL agreements, for example to:

  • ensure reciprocal treatment;
  • avoid parallel legal proceedings and conflicting decisions for private litigants; and
  • streamline cross-border cooperation. 

The UK has entered into PIL agreements in its own right in the past, but in recent decades has also done so through its membership of the EU. The EU’s PIL framework will continue to apply to the UK during the transition period, but the arrangements that will apply after this are yet to be determined.

The bill has two key functions relating to PIL:

  • It would provide for the implementation in domestic law of certain “vital” conventions to which the Government wishes the UK to continue to be bound after the end of the transition period. This is to ensure continuity and for the continued benefit of individuals, families and businesses. These are the 1996, 2005 and 2007 Hague conventions.
  • The bill would also provide a mechanism for the implementation in domestic law of future PIL agreements to which the UK will be a party in its own right. This would be via secondary legislation. The Government has said that the delegated powers in the bill would only be used to implement agreements to which Parliament had already agreed through the scrutiny process set out in the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010.

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