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Webinar on COVID-19 and international child abduction

A free webinar to hear experts of MK Family Law (Washington) and Grotius Chambers (The Hague) discuss pertinent issues relating to international child abduction in times of COVID-19. 

Date: 8 April 2020
Time: 3 pm (CET Amsterdam)

COVID-19 has a significant impact on all aspects of our lives. Since the WHO declared the outbreak a pandemic, numerous States have implemented travel bans in an attempt to contain its spread. Moreover, States have closed courts and adjourned or even cancelled hearings.

Such restrictions cause direct impacts on transnational families. They may hinder, in particular, the prompt return of children in cases of international child abduction. Parents may encounter difficulties in commencing proceedings before the competent authorities, as well as complying with an agreement or return order.

A Textbook Example of Art 17 Rome II: Higher Regional Court of Cologne, 27 March 2020

Art. 17 of the Rome II Regulation, which transposes an element of US conflicts theory (the concept of local data) into a European choice-of-law instrument, is certainly one of the more controversial provisions of the Regulation. It stipulates that

[i]n assessing the conduct of the person claimed to be liable, account shall be taken, as a matter of fact and in so far as is appropriate, of the rules of safety and conduct which were in force at the place and time of the event giving rise to the liability.

In a highly illustrative decision of 27 March 2020 (1 U 95/19), the Higher Regional Court of Cologne (upholding a decision from the Regional Court of Bonn) has provided a textbook example of its application in practice.

„Matters relating to a contract“ without contract (with the claimant) – ECJ, Judgment of 26 March 2020, Case C-215/18, Libuše Králová v Primera Air Scandinavia A/S, on Article 5 no. 1 Brussels I Regulation

In this case, a Czech passenger entered into a package travel contract with a Czech travel agency on a flight from Prague to Keflavik in Iceland and on accommodation there. The flight was operated by the Danish air carrier Primera Air Scandinavia. The flight was delayed by four hours. This is why the passenger brought an action for compensation of EUR 400 against the airline under the Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 February 2004 establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights. The proceedings were instituted before a District Court in Prague.