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THE ROME III REGULATION

A Commentary on the Law Applicable to Divorce and Legal Separation

SABINE CORNELOUP

This comprehensive Commentary provides an in-depth, article-by-article analysis of the Rome III Regulation, the uniform rules adopted by the EU to determine the law applicable to cross-border divorce and legal separation. Written by a team of renowned experts, private international law scholars and practitioners alike will find this Commentary an incisive and useful point of reference.
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EXTENDED CONTENTS

List of contributors

Table of cases

Table of legislation

Introduction

Sabine Corneloup

A. FIRST VIEW ON THE SUBJECT MATTER AND THE PURPOSE  0.01

B. LEGAL BASIS AND LEGISLATIVE HISTORY  0.06

C. SCOPE OF APPLICATION  0.11

1. Temporal scope  0.11

2. Personal scope  0.13

3. Material scope  0.14

a. Subject matter  0.14

b. Existence of a conflict of laws  0.16

D. LEGAL ENVIRONMENT  0.17

1. Other private international law instruments  0.18

2. EU constitutional law  0.21

E. BASIC PRINCIPLES AND UNDERLYING POLICY  0.29

1. Main rules  0.29

a. Overview  0.29

b. Choice of law  0.31

c. Law applicable in the absence of a choice  0.33

2. The underlying favor divortii  0.35

CHAPTER I:   SCOPE, RELATION WITH REGULATION (EC) No 2201/2003, DEFINITIONS AND UNIVERSAL APPLICATION

Article 1 Scope

Susanne Lilian Gössl and Jinske Verhellen

A. GENERAL  1.01

B. REQUIREMENTS FOR APPLICATION: ARTICLE 1(1)  1.02

1. Divorce and legal separation  1.03

a. Does divorce include the dissolution of registered partnerships?  1.06

b. Does the dissolution of a same-sex marriage fall within the scope of Rome III?  1.07

c. Does ‘divorce’ include a private divorce?  1.09

2. Situations involving a conflict of laws  1.16

C. Exclusions: ArtICLE 1(2)  1.18

1. Preliminary questions  1.20

a. Legal capacity of natural persons  1.20

b. Existence, validity or recognition of marriage  1.22

c. Annulment of marriage  1.24

2. Related matters  1.26

Article 2 Relation with Regulation (EC) No 2201/2003

Sabine Corneloup

A. PURPOSE  2.01

B. INDEPENDENT APPLICATION OF THE TWO REGULATIONS  2.04

C. INTERPRETATION OF COMMON EUROPEAN-AUTONOMOUS NOTIONS  2.06

D. EFFECTS OF THE COMBINED APPLICATION OF REGULATIONS ROME III AND BRUSSELS II BIS  2.09

Article 3 Definitions

Petra Hammje

A. The concept of ‘participating Member State’  3.02

1. Founder ‘participating Member State’   3.03

2. Future ‘participating Member State’  3.08

B. THE CONCEPT OF ‘COURT’  3.09

1. The principle of an extensive concept of ‘court’  3.10

2. The exclusion of certain forms of divorce  3.11

a. Religious divorces  3.12

b. Private divorces  3.14

C. The concepts not defined by article 3  3.19

1. Definition by reference to national law of Member States: the concept of ‘marriage’  3.20

a. The possible inclusion of same-sex marriages  3.21

b. The exclusion of registered partnerships  3.24

2. Autonomous jurisdictional interpretation: the connecting factors  3.27

a. The concept of ‘habitual residence’  3.28

b. The remedy to multiple nationalities situations  3.30

Article 4 Universal application

Fabienne Jault-Seseke

A. INTRODUCTION  4.01

B. CONTENT  4.05

C. ASSESSMENT  4.09

CHAPTER II:   UNIFORM RULES ON THE LAW APPLICABLE TO DIVORCE AND LEGAL SEPARATION

Article 5 Choice of applicable law by the parties

Cristina González Beilfuss

A. PARTY AUTONOMY: RATIONALE  5.01

B. INFORMED CHOICE  5.11

C. PARAGRAPH 1: MODALITIES OF CHOICE  5.15

D. PARAGRAPH 1: LEGAL SYSTEMS THAT CAN BE CHOSEN  5.19

1. Law of a State  5.21

2. Habitual residence  5.25

3. Nationality  5.35

4. The law of the forum  5.40

E. PARAGRAPH 2: MOMENT IN TIME AT WHICH THE CHOICE OF THE APPLICABLE LAW IS POSSIBLE  5.44

F. PARAGRAPH 2: MODIFICATION OF CHOICE OF LAW AGREEMENTS  5.48

G. PARAGRAPH 3: PROCEDURAL CHOICE OF THE APPLICABLE LAW  5.50

Article 6 Consent and material validity

Natalie Joubert

A. GENERALITIES  6.01

B. PRINCIPLE: ARTICLE 6(1)  6.05

1. Purpose of the rule  6.05

2. Scope of the rule  6.07

a. Concepts  6.07

b. Excluded issues  6.09

C. EXCEPTION: ARTICLE 6(2)  6.13

1. Purpose of the rule  6.13

2. Conditions of application  6.19

a. Date of referral to the court  6.19

b. Habitual residence  6.20

c. Procedural implementation  6.21

d. Reasonableness  6.22

Article 7 Formal validity

Alexandre Boiché

A. THE BASIC FORMAL REQUIREMENTS OF THE REGULATION  7.01

B. ADDITIONAL FORMAL REQUIREMENTS IMPOSED BY THE STATE OF DRAFTING OF THE DEED  7.03

C. THE OPPORTUNITY OF THE FORM OF THE ACT  7.06

Article 8 Applicable law in the absence of a choice by the parties

Pietro Franzina

A. OBJECT AND PURPOSE  8.01

B. OVERALL DESIGN AND RATIONALE  8.02

C. THE CONNECTING FACTORS IN DETAIL  8.11

1. The current habitual residence of the spouses  8.11

a. General remarks  8.12

b. The notion of habitual residence and its assessment  8.16

2. The last habitual residence of the spouses  8.25

3. The common nationality of the spouses  8.30

a. Assessing the spouses’ nationality for conflict of laws purposes  8.31

b. Persons possessing two or more nationalities  8.33

c. Stateless persons and refugees  8.39

4. The forum  8.41

Article 9 Conversion of legal separation into divorce

Laura Carpaneto

A. NATURE, STRUCTURE AND PURPOSES OF ARTICLE 9  9.01

B. SEPARATION, RECOGNITION AND CONVERSION  9.12

C. FIRST CONFLICT OF LAWS RULE: OPTIO LEGIS  9.22

D. SECOND CONFLICT OF LAWS RULE: THE LAW OF SEPARATION  9.33

E. THIRD RESIDUAL CONFLICT OF LAWS RULE: THE APPLICABLE LAW UNDER ARTICLE 8  9.37

F. CLOSING CLAUSE  9.44

G. RELATIONSHIP WITH THE RULES OF THE BRUSSELS II BIS REGULATION AND OF THE OTHER REGULATIONS IN FAMILY MATTERS  9.47

H. ARTICLE 9 IN FUTURE PERSPECTIVE  9.49

Article 10 Application of the law of the forum

Bettina Heiderhoff

A. OBJECTIVE AND OVERVIEW  10.01

B. ARTICLE 10 FIRST ALTERNATIVE – EXCLUSION OF DIVORCE  10.05

1. General thoughts  10.05

2. Legal separation  10.06

3. Extension of Article 10 first alternative  10.08

a. General restriction to absolute impediments  10.08

b. Treatment of ‘limping’ marriages  10.10

c. Treatment of same-sex or interfaith (mixed religion) marriages  10.13

C. DISCRIMINATION (ARTICLE 10, VAR. 2)  10.14

1. Problem  10.14

2. Examples  10.16

3. Preferable approach  10.18

D. PRACTICAL USE OF ARTICLE 10  10.24

E. CONSEQUENCES OF THE DIVORCE  10.27

F. OUT OF COURT DIVORCES  10.28

Article 11 Exclusion of renvoi

Stefano Dominelli

A. RENVOI: ISSUES AND NATIONAL DIVERGING APPROACHES  11.01

B. RENVOI UNDER EU AND TREATY-BASED CONFLICT OF LAWS RULES  11.06

C. RENVOI AND ARTICLE 11 ROME III REGULATION: A BALANCING OF DIFFERENT INTERESTS AT STAKE  11.09

1. Exclusion of renvoi and party autonomy  11.13

2. Exclusion of renvoi to another State absent a choice of law  11.15

3. Exclusion of ‘remission to the law of the forum’ as well?  11.19

D. MANDATORY NATURE OF ARTICLE 11 ROME III REGULATION  11.22

E. APPLICATION OF SUBSTANTIVE FOREIGN LAWS IN FORCE ONLY  11.25

Article 12 Public policy

Bettina Heiderhoff

A. OBJECTIVE AND OVERVIEW  12.01

B. CONTROL OF RESULTS  12.05

C. UNDERSTANDING THE PUBLIC POLICY CONCEPT  12.06

1. National law, EU law and public policy  12.06

a. Concept and national differences in divorce laws  12.06

b. Guidelines in EU law  12.08

2. Contents of public policy  12.09

a. Narrow concept and ECJ case law  12.09

b. Human rights as key factor  12.11

c. Intensity of connection as important factor  12.12

d. Examples  12.14

3. Comparison of results  12.19

D. LEGAL CONSEQUENCES OF A PUBLIC POLICY VIOLATION  12.21

1. Practical remarks  12.21

a. Necessity of case-based assessment  12.21

b. Rejection ex officio and consequences of the rejection of the law designated by Articles 5 and 8  12.23

2. Necessity of preliminary ruling under Article 267 TFEU  12.26

E. THE RECOGNITION OF FOREIGN DIVORCES  12.28

Article 13 Differences in national law

Christelle Chalas

A. THE PROHIBITED DIVORCE  13.04

1. The ‘Maltese’ clause  13.05

2. The ‘Maltese’ clause outside Malta  13.09

B. THE INVALID MARRIAGE  13.10

1. The causes of invalidity  13.14

2. The source of invalidity  13.17

a. Reference to domestic law  13.18

b. Other sources of invalidity  13.24

3. The regime of Article 13  13.29

a. Discretionary decision of the judge  13.30

b. Procedural regime  13.32

4. The effects of Article 13  13.35

a. Refusal to grant the divorce  13.36

b. Need for forum necessitatis  13.39

5. No equivalent to Article 13 in other European Regulations  13.40

Article 14 States with two or more legal systems – territorial conflicts of laws

Caroline Sophie Rupp

A. INTRODUCTION  14.01

1. Overview  14.01

2. Placement and purpose  14.02

3. Development  14.04

4. Parallels in other EU Regulations  14.05

B. SCOPE  14.06

1. General remarks  14.06

2. ‘State’  14.07

3. ‘System of law or set of rules’  14.08

4. ‘Territorial unit’  14.09

5. Examples  14.10

6. Relationship between Articles 14 and 15  14.12

C. THE PROVISION IN DETAIL  14.13

1. Overview  14.13

2. Article 14 lit. a) – ‘reference to the law of such State’ (General Rule)  14.15

3. Article 14 lit. b) – ‘reference to habitual residence in that State’  14.18

a. Objective conflicts of laws rule  14.19

b. Choice of law  14.21

4. Art. 14 lit. c) – ‘reference to nationality’  14.23

a. ‘Territorial unit designated by the law of that State’  14.25

b. ‘Territorial unit chosen by the parties’  14.27

c. ‘Territorial unit with which the spouse or spouses has or have the closest connection’  14.32

Article 15 States with two or more legal systems – inter-personal conflicts of laws

Caroline Sophie Rupp

A. INTRODUCTION  15.01

1. Overview  15.01

2. Placement and purpose  15.02

3. Development  15.03

4. Parallels in other EU Regulations  15.04

B. SCOPE  15.05

1. General remarks  15.05

2. ‘State’  15.06

3. ‘Systems of law or sets of rules’  15.07

4. ‘Category of persons’  15.08

5. Examples  15.09

6. Relationship between Articles 14 and 15  15.11

C. THE PROVISION IN DETAIL  15.13

1. Overview  15.13

2. Article 15 sentence 1 – ‘legal system determined by the rules in force in that State’  15.16

3. Article 15 sentence 2 – ‘system of law or the set of rules with which the spouse or spouses has or have the closest connection’  15.21

Article 16 Non-application of this Regulation to internal conflicts of laws

Caroline Sophie Rupp

A. INTRODUCTION  16.01

1. Overview  16.01

2. Placement and purpose  16.02

3. Development  16.03

4. Parallels in other EU Regulations  16.04

B. SCOPE  16.05

1. General remarks  16.05

2. ‘Participating Member State’  16.06

3. ‘Systems of law or sets of rules’  16.07

4. Examples  16.08

C. THE PROVISION IN DETAIL  16.09

1. ‘Shall not be required to apply this Regulation to conflicts of laws arising solely between such different systems of law or sets of rules’  16.09

2. Practical application  16.14

CHAPTER III:   OTHER PROVISIONS

Article 17 Information to be provided by participating Member States

Alexandre Boiché

A. THE INSTRUMENT OF THE EUROPEAN JUDICIAL NETWORK  17.01

B. DECLARATIONS AS TO THE ADDITIONAL FORMAL REQUIREMENTS OF THE MEMBER STATES RELATING TO THE CONVENTION ON THE CHOICE OF LAW APPLICABLE TO DIVORCE  17.02

C. DECLARATIONs AS TO THE POSSIBILITY OF DESIGNATING THE APPLICABLE LAW  17.03

Article 18 Transitional provisions

Cristina González Beilfuss

A. LEGAL DIVORCE AND SEPARATION PROCEEDINGS  18.04

B. AGREEMENTS ON THE LAW APPLICABLE TO DIVORCE OR LEGAL SEPARATION  18.08

1. Agreements concluded on and after 21 June 2012  18.09

2. Agreements concluded before 21 June 2012  18.10

Article 19 Relationship with existing international conventions

Thalia Kruger

A. CONCEPTS AND DEFINITIONS  19.01

1. ‘Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union’ (TFEU)  19.01

2. ‘International conventions’  19.02

3. ‘At the time when this Regulation is adopted’  19.03

4. ‘The decision pursuant to the second or third subparagraph of Article 331(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union’  19.05

5. ‘Take precedence’  19.06

6. ‘Conventions concluded exclusively between two or more of them’  19.07

7. ‘Matters governed by this Regulation’  19.08

B. DISCONNECTION CLAUSES  19.09

C. EXISTING CONVENTIONS  19.12

D. FUTURE CONVENTIONS  19.15

Article 20 Review clause

Sabine Corneloup

CHAPTER IV:   FINAL PROVISIONS

Article 21 Entry into force and date of application

Sabine Corneloup

Index