In June 1992, the U.S. delegation to the Meeting of the Special Commission on General Affairs and Policy of the Hague Conference on Private International Law proposed that the Conference begin work on a convention dealing with the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments. This suggestion was nothing new. The Hague Conference has attempted to tackle judgments recognition for over a century, so far with little success when measured in terms of conventions concluded and ratified. While an effort in 1925 apparently suffered from too much ambition at the time, the latest Hague treaty on enforcement of judgments, negotiated throughout the 1960s, lacked sufficient vision to keep the Europeans from turning their attention to creating a more ambitious treaty regime among themselves in the form of the Brussels Convention, the effects of which were soon expanded through the soon equally successful Lugano Convention. In addition, the 1971 Hague Convention suffered from an exceedingly complex form, leading to ratifications only by Cyprus, the Netherlands, and Portugal.
Thus, it was clear from the beginning that, in order to be considered for ratification by a significant number of nations, the new project needed to adopt what is perhaps the most important feature distinguishing the Brussels and Lugano Conventions from most other recognition treaties: It needed to deal with judicial jurisdiction directly rather than merely indirectly as a recognition requirement as had been done in the 1971 Convention and other traditional conventions simples. The only question, contentious until relatively late in the process, was whether the new Convention should become a convention double like the Brussels and Lugano Conventions, that is, one that exhaustively lists the available bases of jurisdiction, or a convention mixte.
- Hague Convention