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Title: EU advancement to the detriment of the 'best interests' of the child? : the rules on jurisdiction, recognition and enforcement in Brussels II bis and in two Hague Conventions
Author: Grabow, Gisela Bettina Annett
ISNI:       0000 0004 6352 7790
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2016
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‘(…) to ensure equality for all children, this Regulation covers all decisions on parental responsibility, including measures for the protection of the child, independently of any link with matrimonial proceedings.' [Recital 5 of Brussels II bis] Brussels II bis (Council Regulation 2201/2003) complements the Hague Convention on Child Abduction, with its well-established set of international rules and the related definitions based on a considerable body of case law. The interrelation has given rise to difficulties of application and issues of interpretation despite the existence of a set of rules supposed to regulate the complementary structures. Besides this interrelation, the Regulation interacts with the Hague Convention on Child Protection. Though Brussels II bis has been analysed with regard to different single aspects, it has not yet been considered which consequences the actual provisions of the Regulation and the ECJ’s decisions have both on the interrelation and its application in the national courts. It has further hitherto not been critically analysed whether the Regulation and the judgments of the ECJ take the right direction to meet the ambitious aim defined in the preamble and throughout the text, respecting the ‘best interests’ of the child. Now that a decade of Brussels II bis has passed and with a series of pioneer cases decided by the ECJ and with an intervention of the ECtHR in Convention and Regulation cases, the Regulation’s effectiveness is worthy of critical consideration. Despite the existence of some specific rules on the interrelation of the Regulation and the Conventions, their very co-existence gave rise to various interacting situations and questions of interpretation. For courts familiar with the rules of the Convention on Child Abduction and with at least their own respective national case law arising under it, the application of the added layer of rules of the Regulation and the interpretation of its different concepts was and still remains a challenge. A comparison of Brussels II bis with the two international instruments with regard to the role of ‘habitual residence’ and the suitability of the other central concepts of the provisions for the particularity of family disputes will demonstrate the differences of cases involving the Regulation and those involving the Conventions. III By governing jurisdiction, recognition and enforcement of judgments and orders relating to parental responsibility, the Regulation has a very wide application covering, for example, custody, access, guardianship and even placement of children in foster or institutional care. Further, Brussels II bis takes up concepts which lie at the very heart of the application of the Convention on Child Abduction and about which there is extensive jurisprudence. This thesis will explore a selection of legal issues arising from the interrelation between these private international law instruments dealing with parental responsibility and child abduction which the national courts applying the Regulation are confronted with. The question whether Brussels II bis is an effective instrument which has strengthened the return mechanism under the Convention on Child Abduction and can work hand in hand with the Convention on Child Protection is also important to critically evaluate. It will be considered if the provisions in the Regulation have been drafted clearly enough and the concepts defined so well that they promote the interests of the children concerned, where the provisions are complementing the Convention on Child Abduction, and has learned from the latter’s flaws so as to enhance the recognition and enforcement processes related to child abduction. It will be concluded whether or not the Regulation is an advancement only in terms of having implemented efficient, intra-Community provisions on jurisdiction, recognition and enforcement or a real advancement supporting the ‘best interests’ of the child(ren), despite the complications of application it has introduced.
Supervisor: Barlow, Anne ; Rueda, Isabelle Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Brussels II bis ; 'best interests' ; Hague Convention on Child Protection ; Hague Convention on Child Abduction