Case law Developments in PIL

March 2021 at the CJEU (and a Preview on April)

To the best of my knowledge, March 2021 will be another quiet month at the Court (for private international law issues). In fact, there is only one event to be reported, namely the judgment in case C-307/19, Obala i lučice, by the 1st Chamber (Bonichot, Bay Larsen, Safjan, Jääskinen, and Toader as reporting judge), which will be published on Thursday 25th.

Readers of this blog may remember that the main proceedings concern a dispute to recover the principal amount of HRK 84 (some 11 Euros) owed as payment for a daily parking ticket for a car parked on the public highway in Zadar (Croatia) on 30 June 2012. The national court – the Visoki trgovački sud Republike Hrvatske (Commercial Court of Appeal, Croatia)- referred nine questions to the Court in Luxembourg, on the interpretation of a number of provisions of several regulations. AG Bobek’s opinion was delivered on 26 November 2020.

A similar trend is announced for April. Therefore, while waiting for the opinions and decisions of the many pending cases directly related to private international law, I would suggest to have a look at nearby fields. A proposal: case C-919/19, Generálna prokuratura Slovenskej republiky, on the mutual recognition of judgments in criminal matters. The CJEU has been asked to interpret Council Framework Decision 2008/909/JHA of 27 November 2008 on the application of the principle of mutual recognition to judgments in criminal matters imposing custodial sentences or measures involving deprivation of liberty for the purpose of their enforcement in the European Union, as amended. The questions are:

Is Article 4(1)(a) of the Framework Decision to be interpreted to the effect that the criteria set out therein are satisfied only when the sentenced person has, in the Member State of his nationality, such family, social, professional or other links that it is possible to reasonably assume from those links that enforcement in that State of the sentence may facilitate his social rehabilitation, and as therefore precluding national legislation such as Paragraph 4(1)(a) of Zákon č. 549/2011 Z.z. [Law No 549/2011] (in the version in force until 31 December 2019) which, in such cases, enables a judgment to be recognised and enforced in the event of merely formally recorded habitual residence in the executing State, regardless of whether the sentenced person has concrete links in that State which could enhance his social rehabilitation?

If that question is answered in the affirmative, is Article 4(2) of the Framework Decision to be interpreted to the effect that the competent authority of the issuing State is required also in the situation provided for in Article 4(1)(a) of the Framework Decision to satisfy itself, even before forwarding the judgment and certificate, that enforcement of the sentence by the executing State would serve the purpose of facilitating the social rehabilitation of the sentenced person and is, furthermore, required to provide the information gathered for that purpose in section (d), point 4, of the certificate specifically, where the sentenced person claims in the statement of his opinion provided for in Article 6(3) of the Framework Decision that he has concrete family, social or professional links in the issuing State?

If question 1 is answered in the affirmative, must Article 9(1)(b) of the Framework Decision be interpreted to the effect that where, in the situation set out in Article 4(1)(a) of the Framework Decision, despite the consultation under Article 4(1)(3) of that Decision and any provision of other necessary information, it is not proven that there are such family, social or professional links from which it could reasonably be assumed that the enforcement in the executing State of the sentence may facilitate the social rehabilitation of the sentenced person, there is still a ground for refusing to recognise and enforce the judgment?

An opinion, again by AG Bobek, is expected mid-April.

Legal Secretary CJEU Full Professor PIL, University of La Laguna (Spain) Senior research fellow MPI Luxembourg (on leave)

%d bloggers like this: