Bonomi, Wautelet and others on matrimonial property: a brief review

Andrea Bonomi and Patrick Wautelet, with the cooperation of Ilaria Pretelli, Eva Lein, Guillaume Kessler, Sara Migliorini and Konstaninos Rokas published Le droit européen des relations patrimoniales de couple (Bruylant). This is an extensive commentary (1368 pages) on the EU Regulations on Matrimonial Property (2016/1103) and on the Property Consequences of Registered Partnerships (2016/1104). These regulations came about through the process of enhanced cooperation and are in force in eighteen of the twenty-seven EU Member States.

The book is similar to the Commentary on the EU’s Succession Regulation (650/2015), Le droit européen des successions by the same main authors.

The book starts with an elaborate introduction which sets the context and gathers information on the preparatory steps towards the regulations (the kind of thing we miss since we don’t have an official report on the Regulations). It refers the reader to various studies and opinions that were produced in the preparatory phase. The introduction further sets out the main characteristics of the Regulations, which the authors have identified as the following:

  • one single attachment;
  • unchangeability of the applicable law;
  • preference for party autonomy;
  • coordination with other EU regulations on related matters;
  • dissociation between jurisdiction and applicable law.

The authors also point out the drawbacks of some of the choices that the legislator made, such as that courts often have to apply foreign law, and that different legal systems might apply to divorce, maintenance, succession and matrimonial property if couples move across borders.

After an explanation of the scope of application (material, temporal and spatial), the commentary follows an article-by-article approach. Every article is discussed in detail, in the context of  legislation and case law (on the EU and Member State levels) and a wealth of legal literature. The reader is offered sound theory combined with practical examples in the form of (fictitious) cases. The makes the book a useful tool for practitioners, judges, notaries and academics alike.