Skip navigation

Rome I Regulation: The UK set to Opt-in

Changes to the Conflict of Laws Regime for International Contracts

18th June 2008

What is this seminar about?

On 2 April 2008, the Government launched a consultation on the question whether the UK should opt into the Rome I Regulation. This European instrument provides rules to determine which law applies to contracts that have connections with more than one country, such as cross-border business or consumer contracts.

The consultation paper considers the merits of the Rome I Regulation against its predecessor, the 1980 Rome Convention, and recommends that the UK does indeed opt in to the new Regulation and apply equivalent rules between England and Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

This paper was produced jointly by the Ministry of Justice, the Northern Ireland Department of Finance and Personnel and the Scottish Government, with the assistance of HM Treasury, the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, and the Department for Transport.

By way of illustration, part of a comment by BRIDGET PRENTICE, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, can be highlighted here:

"The UK is a major centre for international trade and commerce. UK law, courts and legal services have played a key role in cultivating this international reputation, which is underpinned by the certainty, predictability and fairness of our law of contract. Since 1991, our choice of law rules in contract have been based on the Rome Convention.

In 2005, the European Commission proposed fundamental changes to this regime. After consultation with stakeholders, we decided to take the exceptional step of exercising our right not to opt in to the proposal. We did this on the basis that we would continue to argue for a better Regulation that would meet the needs of business and consumers. In the ensuing negotiations UK stakeholders, the Commission, Member States and their experts proposed changes.

The product of these negotiations is a Regulation that protects the benefits of the Rome Convention, and in some cases improves upon it. We are very grateful to our stakeholders for their part in achieving this outcome. We now consider that the UK should seek to opt in to the Rome I Regulation and apply equivalent rules between UK jurisdictions."

The consultation process will conclude on 26 June. The consultation document can be found here, along with the questions posed by the Government.

What is the aim of the seminar?

This seminar provides one of the final opportunities for a discussion of the merit and implications of opting into the Rome I Regulation, and moreover to consider the questions which are raised by the Ministry of Justice in its consultation. Also, the changes to be expected for the legal practice in England & Wales upon entry into force of the Regulation will be addressed. The seminar will feature several presentations from expert academics and practitioners, while leaving ample space for discussion.


The seminar will allow ample time for discussion and will be followed by a reception. Solicitors and barristers may claim 2 CPD hours through attendance at this event.

If you would like to receive updates similar Institute events, please sign up to this website. Those with a particular interest in private international law are also encouraged to sign up to the Institute's Private International Law Discussion List.

This seminar is part of the British Institute's 2007-2008 Seminar Series on Private International Law, which is kindly sponsored by:

This series explores issues which are of topical importance for current legal practice and study in the field of Private International Law. If you have any queries relating to this event please contact Jacob van de Velden.

23rd November 2017 | LONDON

The standard of review of national court decisions by investment tribunals

Read more

27th November 2017 | LONDON

40th FA Mann Lecture

Read more

4th December 2017 | LONDON

Harry Weinrebe Annual Lecture: Perspectives on 15 years in Business and Human Rights - and on where we may be going next

Read more

6th December 2017 | LONDON

16th Annual Review of the Arbitration Act

Read more

11th December 2017 | LONDON

Legal consequences of the separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius (ICJ Advisory Opinion)

Read more