Cross-border
Family Matters: A tour de table of good practices

This project seeks to provide hands on training on the two flagship instruments of EU family law: The Brussels II bis Regulation and the Maintenance Regulation, and will focus, in particular, on the three major themes of EU cross-border family law disputes involving children, parental responsibility, child abduction and family maintenance.

Parental responsibility

EU child abduction

Family maintenance

Presentation

The Brussels II bis Regulation is the main EU instrument in cross-border family disputes involving children. Because of the complexities in cross-border family disputes and also the widespread application of the Brussels II bis Regulation, further refinement of the instrument was needed and the Regulation was amended.

The new recast Brussels II bis Regulation will be applicable as of 1 August 2022. The new instrument does bring some key changes while preserving the spirit and principal regulatory solutions of the previous Regulation. Hence, while the basic rules of the Brussels II bis on jurisdiction, on the determination of habitual residence, and on procedures in child abduction cases remain unchanged, a number of novelties are introduced with respect to the administration of cross border family disputes, affecting significantly the procedures and the practical application of the instrument

Regarding the Maintenance Regulation, which has been applied for a decade now, there is a need to catch up with CJEU case law. Since both the Brussels II bis Regulation and the Maintenance Regulation are directly applicable EU instruments, legal practitioners are to apply these as they stand. Therefore a thorough understanding of the said instruments is of utmost importance, especially in the case of the new procedural solutions of the new recast instrument.

In parallel with this, there is a growing sensitivity concerning the fundamental rights aspects of cross border family cases involving children, manifesting in a steady case law of both the CJEU and the ECtHR in relation to Brussels II bis and the right to family life, positive obligations of the state in relation to the right to family life, child abduction, unjustified interference with family life, and conflicting international obligations. The fundamental rights aspect further adds to the complexity of these cases already involving cross border litigation, cooperation between various judicial and other authorities.

Legal practitioners, primarily judges and lawyers, in all the targeted Member States are directly involved in the resolution of cross-border family law cases, which at the same time makes it even more relevant to understand the fundamental rights embedded nature of EU family law and acquire training in the latest novelties brought by the recast Brussels II bis and current judicial interpretation.

The overall expected result of the project will be the increased knowledge and better understanding of the most important areas of EU family law through the better appreciation of the Brussels II bis Regulation and the Maintenance Regulation.

The direct result of the project is that the training activities, offered in three different levels, on the three most frequent cross border family law disputes involving children – parental responsibility, child abduction and family maintenance– will allow practitioners working on this field to better understand the cross border aspect of these cases and to appreciate the corresponding EU legislation.

Specific results of the three training events:

  • the respective changes brought by the recast Brussels II Regulation will be explained both at an introductory, advanced and practical level. In this vein, the three training activities directly contribute to the better application and use of this new instrument, and
  • the fundamental rights context of parental responsibility, child abduction and maintenance issues are highlighted and the corresponding EU Charter on Fundamental Rights and European Convention on Human Rights standards are promoted.

The project will also result in the improvement of mutual trust and cooperation between legal professional in cross border family law cases.

The project’s website, developed for the purposes of this project, the initial training webinars and all the training activity materials will be available during the lifespan of the project. After the closure of the project, the initial training webinars and the training activity materials in the four languages (French, English, Polish and Romanian) will be made available on the E-justice portal.

Coordinator

Stakeholder

This project is funded by
the European Union’s Justice
Programme (2014-2020)

Partners


“This website and its contents are produced with the financial support of the Justice Programme of the European Union. The website and the said contents are the sole responsibility of the project’s implementing team and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Commission.”