(Court of Justice of the European Union, 16 July 2015)
Jurisdiction – Financial remedies – Maintenance regulation 2009 – Application for preliminary ruling – Jurisdiction in relation to child maintenance – Concurrent proceedings on legal separation of parents and parental responsibility. Please see attached file below for the full judgment.
The Court of Justice of the European Union gave a preliminary ruling as to the interpretation of the Maintenance Regulation 2009 in respect of jurisdiction as to child maintenance where there were concurrent proceedings concerning the legal separation of the parents and proceedings concerning parental responsibility.
The Italian parents and their two children, both Italian nationals, lived in London during the marriage. When they separated the father initiated proceedings for a legal separation in Italy. The mother counterclaimed and the court held that it had jurisdiction to entertain the legal separation proceedings but not in relation to matters of parental responsibility based upon the fact that the children were habitually resident in England and Wales.
The Italian court held that it could determine maintenance in relation to the mother but not in relation to the children as that was ancillary to the parental responsibility proceedings.
The father appealed the decision of the Italian court which stayed the proceedings and made an application to the Court of Justice of the European Union for a preliminary ruling on the question:
'May the decision on a request for child maintenance raised in the context of proceedings concerning the legal separation of spouses, being ancillary to those proceedings, be taken both by the court before which those separation proceedings are pending and by the court before which proceedings concerning parental responsibility are pending, on the basis of the prevention criterion, or must that decision of necessity be taken only by the latter court, as the two distinct criteria set out in points (c) and (d) of [Article 3 of Regulation No 4/2009) are alternatives (in the sense that they are mutually exclusive)?'
Pursuant to the objectives of the Maintenance Regulation where two courts were seised of proceedings, one involving proceedings concerning the separation or dissolution of the marital link between married parents of minor children and the other involving proceedings involving parental responsibility for those children, an application for maintenance in respect those children could not be regarded as ancillary both to the proceedings concerning parental responsibility, within the meaning of Art 3(d) and to the proceedings concerning the status of a person, within the meaning of Art 3(c). They may be regarded as ancillary only to the proceedings in matters of parental responsibility.
Article 3(c) and (d) of the Maintenance Regulation must be interpreted as meaning that, where a court of a Member State was seised of proceedings involving the separaion or dissolution of a marital link between the parents of a minor child and a court of another Member State was seised of proceedings in matters of parental responsibility involving the same child, an application relating to maintenance concerning that child was ancillary only the proceedings concerning parental responsibility, within the meaning of Art 3(d).
In Case C 184/14, REQUEST for a preliminary ruling under Article 267 TFEU from the Corte suprema di cassazione (Italy), made by decision of 25 February 2014, received at the Court on 14 April 2014, in the proceedings A v B, THE COURT (Third Chamber), composed of M. Ilešič, President of the Chamber, A. Ó Caoimh, C. Toader (Rapporteur), E. Jarašiūnas and C.G. Fernlund, Judges, Advocate General: Y. Bot, Registrar: A. Calot Escobar, having regard to the written procedure, after considering the observations submitted on behalf of:
– A, by C. Rimini, avvocato, – B, by S. Callegaro, avvocato, – the Italian Government, by G. Palmieri, acting as Agent, and G. Palatiello, avvocato dello Stato, – the Greek Government, by M. Germani and I. Kotsoni, acting as Agents, – the Polish Government, by B. Majczyna, acting as Agent, – the European Commission, by F. Moro and M. Wilderspin, acting as Agents, after hearing the Opinion of the Advocate General at the sitting on 16 April 2015, gives the following