Recent developments in the EU: family law

On 15 April, the European Commission published its report on the application of the Brussels IIa Regulation, which provides for uniform rules to settle conflicts of jurisdiction in relation to matters of divorce, parental responsibility and cross-border child abduction. The Commission believes that the regulation is a well-functioning instrument that has brought important benefits, while commenting on “problem areas” and suggesting possible future action.

In matrimonial matters, it identifies a need to introduce a limited party autonomy and prevent a “rush to court”. Regarding parental responsibility, it suggests an exploration of the practical application of the regulation, with particular reference to transfer of proceedings between jurisdictions. On recognition and enforcement of judgments, it considers the introduction of common minimum procedural standards to enhance mutual trust between member states. It is undertaking a public consultation to inform any decision on appropriate action.

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