The international protection of vulnerable adults: recent developments from Brussels and The Hague


On 10 November 2016, the French MEP Joëlle Bergeron submitted to the Committee on Legal Affairs of the European Parliament a draft report regarding the protection of vulnerable adults.

The draft report comes with a set of recommendations to the European Commission. Under the draft, the European Parliament, among other things, ‘deplores the fact that the Commission has failed to act on Parliament’s call that it should submit … a report setting out details of the problems encountered and the best practices noted in connection with the application of the Hague Convention [of 13 January 2000 on the international protection of adults], and ‘calls on the Commission to submit … before 31 March 2018, pursuant to Article 81(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, a proposal for a regulation designed to improve cooperation among the Member States and the automatic recognition and enforcement of decisions on the protection of vulnerable adults and mandates in anticipation of incapacity’.

A document annexed to the report lists the ‘principles and aims’ of the proposal that the Parliament expects to receive from the Commission.

In particular, following the suggestions illustrated in a study by the European Parliamentary Service, the regulation should, inter alia, ‘grant any person who is given responsibility for protecting the person or the property of a vulnerable adult the right to obtain within a reasonable period a certificate specifying his or her status and the powers which have been conferred on him or her’, and ‘foster the enforcement in the other Member States of protection measures taken by the authorities of a Member State, without a declaration establishing the enforceability of these measures being required’. The envisaged regulation should also ‘introduce single mandate in anticipation of incapacity forms in order to facilitate the use of such mandates by the persons concerned, and the circulation, recognition and enforcement of mandates’.

In the meanwhile, on 15 December 2016, Latvia signed the Hague Convention of 2000 on the international protection of adults. According to the press release circulated by the Permanent Bureau of the Hague Conference on Private International Law, the Convention is anticipated to be ratified by Latvia in 2017.