Local authority B v X: Brussels IIa and (Northern) Cypriot territory.

I currently have a practice interest in all things Cypriot territory hence Local Authority B v X (Mother) & Ors [2020] EWFC 37 caught my eye even more than had it just involved Brussels IIa.

The application concerns a child, T. He is now about 5 years old. He is a British national; both his parents are British nationals. He was born in Kyrenia in the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus (‘TRNC’), and lived there from his birth in early 2014 until late summer 2018 when he travelled with his mother to the Republic of Cyprus, the southern territory of the island, where he remained until 17 October 2018. On that day, he flew to London, again in the company of his mother. On each occasion on which T and his mother travelled, the mother was the subject of a formal deportation order from the relevant territory of the island of Cyprus. On her arrival in the UK the mother was arrested and taken into custody, where she has remained to date. A police protection order was made in relation to T on his arrival in England, and he was placed into foster care, where he, in turn, has remained.

At issue is whether the Family Court in England can properly exercise jurisdiction in relation to T.  Cobb J notes that the legal issues in the case are complicated by the internal territorial and political division within Cyprus. The UK, in accordance with its obligations under international law, has not recognised, and does not recognise, the TRNC as a state, yet the Republic of Cyprus is a Member State of the EU. Further discussion of the territorial issues at 7 ff include references to Protocol 10 of Cyprus’ accession Treaty, and CJEU C-420/07 Apostolides v Orams. (Itself linked to [2010] EWCA Civ 9).

The ensuing complicated jurisdictional questions are summarised at 33-34, with at 53 a resulting finding of lack of habitual residence of T in England, and an A13 BIIa jurisdiction. The mother, who argues for habitual residence in Cyprus, agues that BIA per CJEU Orams treats the TRNC as part of the Member State of the Republic of Cyprus, and so should BIIa. They further contend that given the many direct similarities between the language and the purpose of the two regulations, Brussels 1 and BIIaOrams provides good authority for the argument that T, habitually resident in the TRNC (outside the Government’s effective control) was nonetheless, at the critical point, subject to the provisions of BIIa. At 68ff, Cobb J disagrees.

An interesting judgment for both BIIa and EU external relations law.

Geert.

From well to wheel. But not for Australia’s mines and their climate impact.

In Coast and Country Association of Queensland Inc v Smith & Ors [2016] QCA 242, the Queensland Court of Appeal held among others that the Land Court was correct not to include emissions from the burning of coal ex Australia, in the environmental impact assessment part of permitting decisions relating to Queensland coal mines: ‘It is outside the Land Court’s jurisdiction under s 269(4)(j) Mineral Resources Act 1989 (Qld) to consider the impact of activities beyond those carried on under the authority of the proposed mining lease, such as the impact of what the Land Court described as “scope 3 emissions.” These include environmentally harmful global greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the transportation and burning of coal after its removal from the proposed mines.’

As BakerMcKenzie note (a good summary of the issues which I happily refer to),  this does not mean that such impact may not be taken into account at all:  It can be considered when weighing up whether “the public right and interest is prejudiced”, and as to whether “any other good reason has been shown for a refusal”. However the Land Court tends not to have much sympathy for that view: contrary to eg the Dutch approach in the Urgenda case, the Land Court views the coal market as essentially demand driven: if no Australian coal is used, other coal will be – so one might as well make it Australian.

The High Court of Australia, Baker report, have now confirmed (without formally endorsing the approach), that Land Courts decisions wil not be subject to further appeal on these grounds. (So far I have only found the reference to the case on the Court’s ledger).

Not much prospect for well to wheel considerations in Queensland /Australia therefore. Interesting material for a comparative environmental law class.

Geert.