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HCCH Monthly Update: June 2021

Conventions & Instruments  

On 31 May 2021, Georgia deposited its instrument of accession to the HCCH 1965 Service Convention and the HCCH 1970 Evidence Convention. With the accession of Georgia, the Service Convention now has 79 Contracting Parties. It will enter into force for Georgia on 1 January 2022, subject to the Article 28 procedure. For the Evidence Convention, with the accession of Georgia it now has 64 Contracting Parties. The Convention will enter into force for Georgia on 30 July 2021. More information is available here.

Meetings & Events 

On 1 June 2021, the HCCH and the Asian Business Law Institute co-hosted the webinar “HCCH 1970 Evidence Convention and Remote Taking of Evidence by Video-link”, part of the ongoing celebrations of the Evidence Convention’s golden anniversary. More information is available here.

HCCH Vacancy: Assistant Legal Officer

The Permanent Bureau of the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) is seeking an Assistant Legal Officer. The successful candidate will work in the field of International Family Law and Child Protection, primarily in relation to the 2000 Convention on the Protection of Adults and the 2007 Convention on Child Support and its Protocol, but also the 1961 Convention on the Form of Testamentary Dispositions and 1970 Convention on the Recognition of Divorces.

Applications should be submitted by Friday 23 July 2021 (00:00 CEST). For more information, please visit the Recruitment section of the HCCH website.

This post is published by the Permanent Bureau of the Hague Conference of Private International Law (HCCH). 

 

No reciprocity for Swiss and German judgments in Jordan

Two recent rulings of the Supreme Court of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan refused recognition and enforcement of  German and Swiss judgments on maintenance on grounds of no reciprocity.

I. First case: No reciprocity with Germany

  1. The facts

The applicant was the wife of the respondent, both Jordanian nationals. She filed several applications before German courts in Stuttgart, and obtained a number of final judgments ordering payments for alimony to her benefit. Due to non payment by the husband, she filed an application for the recognition and enforcement of the German judgments in Jordan.  The Court of first instance declared the judgments enforceable in Jordan in 2009. The husband appealed. The Amman Court of Appeal issued its decision January 2015, revoking the appealed decision. The wife filed a second appeal (cassation).

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.

Change in German International Adoption Law

Last week the German parliament approved a reform of the German adoption law. The reform was triggered by a decision of the Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht – BVerfG) declaring provisions unconstitutional that did not allow a stepchild adoption for non-marital couples (English translation of the decision here).

The legislator took the opportunity to adapt the conflict of law provisions. The relevant rule, article 22 Introductory Act to the Civil Code (EGBGB) only applies to adoptions in Germany and those abroad that were not established by a foreign court or authority. In the latter case the rules on recognition of court decisions apply. Furthermore, the Hague Convention of 29 May 1993 on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption prevails. The new rule, thus, mainly determines the law applicable on the acceptance of an adoption by private agreement that occurred abroad.

The former relevant provision, Article 22 para 1 EGBGB stated, cited after the translation made by Juliana Mörsdorf for the Federal Office of Justice:

Cultural Identity in Private International Family Law

The era of globalization is characterized by the dynamic movement of people across borders and migration in various parts of the world. The juxtaposition and coexistence of different ethnic, cultural or religious groups within society poses the challenge of accommodating divergent legal, religious and customary norms. Of key concern is how far the fundamental values of the receiving state ought to be imposed on all persons on the soil, and to what extent the customs, beliefs and the cultural identity of individuals belonging to minority groups should be respected. This challenge arguably requires reconsidering and reevaluating the conventional methods of private international law that are grounded in the territorial “localization” of legal relationships. Against this background, Yuko Nishitani (Professor at Kyoto University, Japan) envisaged studying various conflict of laws issues from the viewpoint of cultural identity in private international family law and delivered a lecture at the Hague Academy of International Law on “Identité culturelle en droit international privé de la famille”, which has been published in Recueil des cours, Vol. 401 (2019), pp. 127-450.

Child Abduction and Habitual Residence in the Supreme Court of Canada

The Supreme Court of Canada, in Office of the Children’s Lawyer v Balev (available here), has evolved the law in Canada on the meaning of a child’s habitual residence under Article 3 of the Hague Convention.  The Convention deals with the return of children wrongfully removed from the jurisdiction of their habitual residence.

A majority of the court identifies [paras 4 and 39ff] three possible approaches to habitual residence: the parental intention approach, the child-centred approach, and the hybrid approach.  The parental intention approach determines the habitual residence of a child by the intention of the parents with the right to determine where the child lives.  This approach has been the dominant one in Canada.  In contrast, the hybrid approach, instead of focusing primarily on either parental intention or the child’s acclimatization, looks to all relevant considerations arising from the facts of the case.  A majority of the court, led by the (now retired) Chief Justice, holds that the law in Canada should be the hybrid approach [paras 5 and 48].  One of the main reasons for the change is that the hybrid approach is used in many other Hague Convention countries [paras 49-50].

Implementation of Art. 56 Brussels IIa in Greece

Following the formation of a specialized law drafting committee nearly 4 years ago, the implementation Act on cross border placement of children in accordance with Art. 56 Brussels IIa has been published in the Official State Gazette on June 23, 2017. The ‘Act’ constitutes part of a law, dealing with a number of issues irrelevant to the subject matter in question. The pertinent provisions are Articles 33-46 Law 4478/2017.

Art. 33 establishes the competent Central Authority, which is the Department for International Judicial Cooperation in Civil and Criminal Cases, attached to the Hellenic MoJ. Art. 34 lists the necessary documents to be submitted to the Greek Central Authority. Art. 35-37 state the requirements and the procedure for the placement of a child to an institution or a foster family in Greece. Advance payment for covering the essential needs of the child, and the duty of foreign Authorities to inform the respective Greek Central Authority in case of changes regarding the child’s status, are covered under Art. 38 & 39 respectively.

Conference: Cross Border Family Litigation in Europe. The Brussels IIbis Recast (Milan, 14 october 2016)

The University of Milan (Department of International, Legal, Historical and Political Studies) will host on Friday 14 October 2016 (14h00) a conference on “Cross border family litigation in Europe. The Brussels IIbis recast“.

Here is the programme (the sessions will be held in English and Italian):

Welcoming addresses

  • Chiara Tonelli (Vice-Rector for Research, Univ. of Milan)
  • Laura Ammannati (Director of the Department of International, Legal, Historical and Political Studies)

Chair: Stefania Bariatti (Univ. of Milan)

The Brussels IIbis recast

  • Joanna Serdynska (Civil Justice Policy, DG Justice, European Commission): The Commission’s proposal
  • Anatol Dutta (Universität Regensburg – MPI Hamburg): A comment on the Commission’s Proposal from a member of the Commission’s Expert Group

Round Table – The Commission’s Proposal: exchange of views among judges, practitioners and academics

  • Giuseppe Buffone (Milan Court, Family Division)
  • Monica Velletti (Rome Court, Family Division)

Conference: “The Economic Dimension of Cross-Border Families: Planning the Future” (Milan, 13 March 2015)

UniMIThe University of Milan will host on 13 March 2015 a conference on “The Economic Dimension of Cross-Border Families: Planning the Future”. The sessions will be held in English and Italian. Here’s the programme (available as a .pdf file):

14h00 Welcoming addresses

  • Gianluca Vago (Rector, University of Milan)
  • Laura Ammannati (Director of the Department of International, Legal, Historical and Political Studies)
  • Ilaria Viarengo (Coordinator of the PhD course on International and European Law, University of Milan)

Chair: Stefania Bariatti (University of Milan)

14h15 Revision of Brussels IIa: Current State of Play

  • Joanna Serdynska (Civil Justice Policy, DG Justice, European Commission)

14h45 Property Rights of International Couples and Registered Partnerships: The Role of Parties’ Autonomy

  • Cristina González Beilfuss (Universitat de Barcelona)
  • Ilaria Viarengo  (University of Milan)