Ministry of Justice
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Businesses can trade with confidence in Europe: prentice

Businesses can trade with confidence in Europe: prentice

MINISTRY OF JUSTICE News Release (099/08) issued by The Government News Network on 25 July 2008

Proposals which will better protect UK businesses trading in Europe have been agreed by Ministers today.

The Government undertook a consultation on whether to opt-in to Rome I Regulation - which provides clarity over which law applies if a dispute arises over a contract made between people or businesses from different countries, allowing cross border-trade to continue with confidence. The overwhelming response to the consultation was yes.

International Justice Minister Bridget Prentice MP said:

"I am delighted that the vast majority of those who responded to the consultation were in favour of the proposal.

"Much of the business conducted by the UK is done by contract, and with international parties. Contracts are the basic building block of many of the financial transactions that occur in huge numbers in the City of London and throughout the UK every day. For these businesses and individuals, it is crucial that the law applying to their contracts is certain and predictable. That is what this regulation will achieve."

When the European Commission first announced the proposals in 2005, the UK Government took the unusual step of opting out of the proposals, as they would not have been in the interests of UK businesses. However, following intense negotiations, a substantially revised and hugely improved version has now been agreed.

Notes to Editors:

1. On 2 April 2008, the UK launched a public consultation exercise, seeking the views of UK business stakeholders on whether the Government should now seek to opt in to the Rome I Regulation. The consultation closed on 25 June. The overwhelming response was acceptance of the Government's recommendation that the UK should now seek to opt in to Rome I.

2. The Regulation will come into force on 17 December 2009.

3. The UK is currently seeking the consent of the European Commission to participate in the Regulation. The UK will try to seek to implement the Regulation at the same time as the Regulation became enforceable in the other Member States.

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