Research Handbooks in European Law series
Edited by Peter Stone and Youseph Farah
Chapter 2: A step in the right direction! Critical assessment of forum selection agreements under the revised Brussels I: a comparative analysis with US law
A forum selection agreement is a tool that allocates jurisdictional risks between contracting parties. By agreeing on a forum selection agreement a party can avert litigation at unwanted foreign jurisdictions and under unfamiliar procedural rules. Entering into a forum selection agreement thus contributes to legal certainty, and as a result has noticeable financial benefits. A forum selection agreement, if desired by one of the parties and agreeable to the other, could limit legal proceedings to home courts, or, where that is not agreeable, it could remove the advantage of litigating at the other party’s home courts by electing to bring proceedings at a neutral forum. A forum selection agreement is particularly valuable in international commercial transactions where the interface of systems of law and fora are probable, and as a result more than one court is likely to assert jurisdiction. This research is significant because it offers a comprehensive analysis of the most recent amendments made in the revised Brussels Iconcerning a harmonised approach to the enforcement of forum selection agreements. It also offers a meaningful and thorough comparative analysis of the comparable rules in the US that govern the enforcement of forum selection agreements. It is hoped that the comparative element of this research, which adopts the contextual functionalist method, will offer a better perception of how the EU compares with other leading jurisdictions, and so assess the strengths and weaknesses of the EU approach.
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