The EU Commission has launched its update to the Stockholm program, its agenda for the EU’s judicial area. Conflict of laws is part of the EU’s judicial area program, whence part of the new program (with reference to its professed location of adoption one ought to call it the Strasbourg program) relates to conflicts.
It is in this respect heartening to see that conflicts is mentioned in particular with respect to the ambition to codify (or at least the ambition to review the suitability of codification). However stock taking and slowing the legislative pace is not mentioned. Whether that will happen, one imagines, will to a considerable degree depend on the priorities of the future commissioner.
Agreed, not a formidably appealing title for either a Regulation or a blog post. However the subject-matter really is important, as is its significance for EU private international law. On 31 May, Council adopted the Regulation on mutual recognition of protection measures in civil matters. The Regulation applies to protection measures ordered with a view to protecting a person where there exist serious grounds for considering that that person’s life, physical or psychological integrity, personal liberty, security or sexual integrity is at risk, for example so as to prevent any form of gender-based violence or violence in close relationships such as physical violence, harassment, sexual aggression, stalking, intimidation or other forms of indirect coercion.
Decisions taken under the Brussels IIa Regulation (Regulation 2201/2003) continue to be recognised and enforced under that Regulation, which concerns jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in matrimonial matters and the matters of parental responsibility.
Unlike in other areas of judicial cooperation, the Regulation applies to decisions of both judicial authorities and administrative authorities provided that the latter offer guarantees with regard, in particular, to their impartiality and to the right of the parties to judicial review. Police authorities cannot however be considered as issuing authorities within the meaning of the Regulation.
The Regulation deals only with the recognition of the obligation imposed by the protection measure. It does not regulate the procedures for implementation or enforcement of the protection measure, nor any potential sanctions that might be imposed if the obligation ordered by the protection measure is infringed in the Member State addressed.
The UK and Ireland do, Denmark does not take part in the Regulation.
The adoption of the Regulation seems quite relevant to me – an instrument truly designed to assist in creating ‘An open and secure Europe serving the citisen’, as the Stockholm program has it.