Global Private International Law
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Global Private International Law

Adjudication without Frontiers

Edited by Horatia Muir Watt, Lucia Bíziková, Agatha Brandão de Oliveira and Diego P. Fernandez Arroyo

Providing a unique and clearly structured tool, this book presents an authoritative collection of carefully selected global case studies. Some of these are considered global due to their internationally relevant subject matter, whilst others demonstrate the blurring of traditional legal categories in an age of accelerated cross-border movement. The study of the selected cases in their political, cultural, social and economic contexts sheds light on the contemporary transformation of law through its encounter with conflicting forms of normativity and the multiplication of potential fora.
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Chapter 26: Cultural identities: Wagner v. Luxembourg

Hans van Loon and David Sindres


The Wagner case stemmed from the non-recognition by Luxembourg of the adoption, in Peru, of a Peruvian child by a Luxembourg national. In November 1996, the Family Court of the province of Huamanga had pronounced the adoption in accordance with the legal conditions for full adoption in Peru, so that the child lost her family ties with her original family and acquired the status of daughter of the adopting parent, Ms. Wagner. Once in Luxembourg, Ms. Wagner, relying on the pre-existent judicial practice, expected the foreign adoption to be registered. However, that practice had been abolished and Ms. Wagner had to make an application before the District Court in order to obtain the enforcement (exequatur) of the foreign judgment. The enforcement would allow the child to acquire Luxembourgish nationality, and thereby European Union citizenship, and be granted definitive permission to remain in the country. In 1998, the Court dismissed the application for enforcement, based on the Luxembourg rules on the conflict of laws, which provide that the conditions for adoption are governed by the national law of the adoptive parent. According to Luxembourg’s Civil Code, an application for full adoption could only be made by a married couple. Ms. Wagner contested that the Court was dealing with an application for enforcement and not an application to adopt; and that the real issue consisted in the rights of the child adopted following the Peruvian judgment.

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