2016/8/18 - 21 Cdo 5311/2015 (summary)

Judgement of the Supreme Court dated 18 August 2016, sp. 21 Cdo 5311/2015

(international jurisdiction, habitual residence, parental responsibility)

The mother of a minor moved with her son from the Czech Republic to Spain. She filed a petition to declare the lack of jurisdiction of the Czech court and to terminate the proceedings on the settlement of the conditions to the minor. The first instance court granted this decision and stayed the proceedings. It took into account a statement from the Spanish court of first instance that it is in the best interests of the minor to hear the case in Spain. Both the father and the guardian (the Office for the International Protection of Children) have appealed against this decision. The appellate court concluded that the conditions of Article 15 of Council Regulation (EC) No 2201/2003 (the "Brussels II bis" Regulation) were fulfilled in the case. Both the father and the guardian appealed to the Supreme Court. They argued that there was a defect in the case as neither of them had received the information on the filing of the application for assignment of jurisdiction to the Spanish court, and that the proceedings were not suspended.

The Supreme Court reviewed a decision by which jurisdiction in relation to parental responsibility to the minor was transferred to a Spanish court under Article 15 of the Brussels II bis Regulation. With regard to the six-week period for the courts of another Member State to be able to hear the case, the court stated that this period is in fact a time limit. Moreover, the Court stated that the court of first instance did not suspend the proceedings but had taken other appropriate measures to remove the obstacle to the proceedings, i.e. asked the Spanish court for an opinion on the transfer of jurisdiction. The Court therefore concluded that the court of first instance had acted correctly.