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Asma Alouane

As reported previously, the ECtHR was asked by the French Cour de cassation for an advisory opinion on the legal parentage of children born through surrogacy arrangement. In its answer, the Court considered that the right to respect for private life (article 8 of ECHR) requires States parties to provide a possibility of recognition of the child’s legal relationship with the intended mother. However, according to the Court, a State is not required, in order to achieve such recognition, to register the child’s birth certificate in its civil status registers. It also declared that adoption can serve as a means of recognizing the parent-child relationship.

As announced earlier on this blog, the Gender and Private International Law (GaP) kick-off event took place on October 25th at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law in Hamburg.

This event, organized by Ivana Isailovic and Ralf Michaels, was a stimulating occasion for scholars from both Gender studies and Private and Public international law to meet and share approaches and views.

Conference on Jurisdiction Clauses on November 21 in Paris

Panthéon-Assas (Paris 2) University will host a conference on November 21 on jurisdiction clauses: “La clause attributive de juridiction : de la prévisibilité au désordre”.

The first part of the conference is dedicated to the factors of disorder, such as the application of the clauses in financial matters, the implications of personal data protection, and other limits to the clauses’ effectiveness. The second part will discuss ways to enhance the protection afforded to the parties by jurisdiction clauses.

The conference will take place in the Salle des Conseils, 12 place du Panthéon 75005, Paris.

Registration is open until November 8th.

The full programme is available here



As previously reported on Conflicts of Laws, the ECtHR was requested an advisory opinion by the French Court of Cassation.

On April 10th, the ECtHR delivered its first advisory opinion. It held that:

“In a situation where a child was born abroad through a gestational surrogacy arrangement and was conceived using the gametes of the intended father and a third-party donor, and where the legal parent-child relationship with the intended father has been recognised in domestic law,

  1. the child’s right to respect for private life within the meaning of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights requires that domestic law provide a possibility of recognition of a legal parent-child relationship with the intended mother, designated in the birth certificate legally established abroad as the “legal mother”;

On October 5th, The Cour de Cassation, the highest court in France for private law matters, requested an advisory opinion of the ECtHR (Ass. plén. 5 octobre 2018, n°10-19053). It is the first time a Contracting State applies to the ECtHR for an advisory opinion on the basis of Protocol n° 16 which entered into force on August 1st, 2018. The request relates to the legal parentage of children born to a surrogate mother. More specifically, it concerns the intended mother’s legal relationship with the child.

The Mennesson case is again under the spotlight, after 18 years of judicial proceedings. Previous developments will be briefly recalled, before the Advisory opinion request is summarized.

Previous developments in the Mennesson case:

The University of Lyon III will host the conference “La circulation des personnes et de leur statut dans un monde globalisé” on 11 and 12 October 2018.

After a short introduction on the stakes and the historical aspects of the law on such movements, the first day will address the principles governing those movements (Human rights, EU rights, party autonomy and the States’ interests) and day two the diverse methods, traditional or in test, to regulate them (Conflict of laws v. Recognition ; Impacts of public order, fraud and abuse of rights; Documents, constitution, absence and effects).

Thanks to Héloïse Meur, Lilia Aït Ahmed and Estelle Gallant for this post.

On June 21, 2018 a full-day colloquium will take place in Paris on the protection of unaccompanied minors at the former Courthouse. The colloquium will see the participation of prestigious speakers from institutions dealing with the issue of unaccompanied minors :

• French public authorities (French authority to protect human rights and civil liberties, French national consultative committee on human rights),
• French Supreme Court,
• The Paris Bar,
• Major civil associations (GISTI, ECPAT, La Cabane juridique),
• French and Belgian professors and Phd candidates in law and geography.

The speakers will discuss the root causes of the migration flows of unaccompanied minors, the limits of their treatment by French authorities, the difficulties to coordinate with other EU member States, and envisage the possible room for improvements, notably vis-à-vis what is done abroad, and especially in Belgium.

By a judgment Orlandi and Others v. Italy delivered on December 14 the ECtHR held that the lack of legal recognition of same sex unions in Italy violated the right to respect of private and family life of couples married abroad.

The case concerned the complaint of six same sex-couples married abroad (in Canada, California and the Netherlands). Italian authorities refused to register their marriages on the basis that registration would be contrary to public policy. They also refused to recognize them under any other form of union. The complaints were lodged prior to 2016, at a time when Italy did not have a legislation on same-sex unions.

Through two decisions (Civ. 1ère, 27 sept. 2017, n° 16-17198 et 16-13151) both issued on September 27th, The French Cour de cassation finally gave an answer to one of the most discussed question of French Succession law: Is la réserve héréditaire part of French international public policy?

The circumstances of both cases are very similar. Two French composers living in California, where they had most of their assets, got married respectively in 1984 and 1990. They put their assets in a trust and designated their wives as beneficiaries. In both cases, the settlers did not designate the children they had from previous relationships as beneficiaries of the trust. After the death of their fathers, the latter turned to French courts in order to obtain part of the inheritance. They argued that the Californian law applicable to the succession should be declared contrary to French international public policy for not including a réserve héréditaire for certain heirs.