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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.

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.

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

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)

Swiss Institute of Comparative Law: 24e Journée de DIP on International Family Law

On Friday, 16th March 2012, the Swiss Institute of Comparative Law (ISDC) will host the 24th Journée de droit international privé, organised in collaboration with the University of Lausanne (Center of Comparative Law, European Law and International Law – CDCEI). The conference will analyse the latest developments in international family law, under a Swiss and an EU perspective : “Derniers développements suisses et européens en droit international privé de la famille”. Here’s the programme:

Mot de bienvenue par les organisateurs (09h00 – 09h10):

  • Christina Schmid (Directrice à l’Institut suisse de droit comparé);
  • Andrea Bonomi (Directeur CDCEI de l’Université de Lausanne).

Première Session (09h10 – 11h00)
Le divorce et ses conséquences:

Rome III Regulation Published in the Official Journal

The Rome III regulation (see our most recent post here, with links to the previous ones) has been published in the Official Journal of the European Union n. L 343 of 29 December 2010. The official reference is the following: Council Regulation (EU) No 1259/2010 of 20 December 2010 implementing enhanced cooperation in the area of the law applicable to divorce and legal separation (OJ n. L 343, p. 10 ff.).

Pursuant to its Art. 21(2), the regulation should apply from 21 June 2012 in the 14 Member States which currently participate in the enhanced cooperation (Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, Austria, Portugal, Romania and Slovenia).

Rome III Regulation Adopted by Council

As a Christmas gift for European PIL scholars, the first enhanced cooperation in the history of the EU has been achieved in the field of conflict of laws (on the origin of the initiative see our previous post here).

The Council, in its meeting of 20 December 2010, adopted the Rome III regulation implementing enhanced cooperation in the area of the law applicable to divorce and legal separation (for previous steps of the procedure, see here and here). As of mid-2012 (18 months after its adoption, pursuant to Art. 21), the Rome III reg. will apply in the 14 Member States which have been authorised to participate in the enhanced cooperation by Council decision no. 2010/405/EU: Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, Austria, Portugal, Romania and Slovenia. Further Member States which wish to participate may do so in accordance with the second or third subparagraph of Article 331(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.