Case law Developments in PIL

July 2022 at the Court of Justice of the European Union

Due to the summer holiday, July 2022 will be a brief month at the Court in terms of delivery of judgments and opinions and the holding of hearings. Nevertheless, until then we are invited to attend, on Thursday 7th, the hearing in C- 639/21 Geos et Geos International Consulting, a case referred by the Cour de cassation (France), with these questions on the Brussels I bis Regulation:

  1. Are Article 4(1) and Article 20(1) of Regulation (EU) No 1215/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2012 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters to be interpreted as meaning that, where it is claimed that a company domiciled in a Member State, and being sued by an employee before the courts of that State, is the joint employer of that employee, who was engaged by another company, that court is not required to assess at the outset whether the employee is jointly employed by those two companies in order to determine whether it has jurisdiction to rule on the claims made against them?
  2. Are those articles to be interpreted as meaning that, in such a case, the autonomy of the special rules of jurisdiction over individual contracts of employment does not preclude the application of the general rule that jurisdiction lies with the courts of the Member State in which the defendant is domiciled, set out in Article 4(1) of Regulation No 1215/2012?

The lawsuit at the national level was filed by PB, a former employee of the company Geos International Consulting, established in London, with the conseil de prud’hommes de Montpellier. The core of the matter is the payment of various sums in relation to PB’s dismissal. Alleging a situation of co-employment, PB is seeking to obtain joint and several judgments against the said company and its parent company, Geos, whose head office is located in Puteaux (France). While the conseil de prud’hommes concluded that the French courts had jurisdiction, the Montpellier Court of Appeal arrived at the opposite solution on the basis of Article 21(1) of Regulation No 1215/2012. On appeal, the Court of Cassation is asking about the interpretation of Article 4(1) and Article 20(1) of Regulation No 1215/2012.

The case has been assigned to the 2nd chamber (judges S. Prechal, J. Passer, F. Biltgen, N. Wahl, and L. Arastey Sahún as reporting judge). It will benefit from an opinion by AG N. Emiliou.

On the same day, the decision on C-7/21 LKW WALTER will be handed down. The preliminary reference comes from the Bezirksgericht Bleiburg (Austria). I reported on the questions here, also announcing the opinion by AG P. Pikämae to be published on March 10, 2022.  There is no English translation so far of his proposal to the Court. An interim one could be:

  1. Article 8, sections 1 and 3, of Regulation (EC) No. 1393/2007 (…), in relation to article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the Union European Union, must be interpreted in the sense that it does not oppose a national regulation of the sentencing State according to which the term to file an appeal against a resolution materialized in a judicial document notified or transferred in accordance with Regulation (CE) n º 1393/2007 begins to run from the notification or transfer of the document in question, and not only after the expiration of the period of one week, provided for in section 1 of said article, to refuse to accept said document.
  2. Article 45, section 1, letter b), and article 46 of Regulation (EU) No. 1215/2012 (…), in relation to article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, must be interpreted in the sense that the recognition and enforcement of a decision that has not been issued in the context of an adversarial procedure must be denied, if the appeal against such decision must be drawn up in a language other than the official language of the Member State in which the defendant resides or, if there are several official languages ​​in that Member State, other than the official language or one of the official languages ​​of the place where he resides, and, according to the law of the Member State in which the decision was issued, the non-extendable period for lodging the appeal is only eight calendar days.
  3.  Article 18 TFEU must be interpreted as not applying to a situation in which the addressee of a judicial document has waived his right to refuse to accept service of said document in accordance with Article 8, section 1, of Regulation (EC) No. 1393/2007.

The judgment will be delivered by the 4th chamber (judges C. Lycourgos, S. Rodin, J.C. Bonichot, L.S. Rossi, with O. Spineanu-Matei as reporting judge)

On Thursday 14th, the same chamber, this time with judge Rossi reporting, will deliver the judgment on C-572/21, CC. The request comes from the Högsta domstolen (Sweden). It addresses the interpretation of Articles 8 and 61 of the Brussels II bis Regulation:

Does the court of a Member State retain jurisdiction under Article 8(1) of the Brussels II Regulation if the child concerned by the case changes his or her habitual residence during the proceedings from a Member State to a third country which is a party to the 1996 Hague Convention (see Article 61 of the regulation)?

The dispute on the merits concerns a couple – CC and VO-, and its son M, who was born in 2011. CC has had sole custody of M since his birth. M lived in Sweden until October 2019, when he began to attend a boarding school in Russia. Two months later, VO brought an action against CC claiming that he should be awarded sole custody of M. In the alternative, VO requested that he and CC should have joint custody of M and that their son should be permanently resident with him. CC contested the claims. Principally, she claimed on her own behalf that she should continue to have sole custody of M and, in the alternative, that she and VO should have joint custody of the son. In addition, CC claimed that the tingsrätten (District Court, Sweden) should dismiss VO’s action as inadmissible in so far as it concerned custody and residence. In support of the claim that the action was inadmissible, she argued that M was habitually resident in Russia and that the Swedish courts consequently lacked jurisdiction to rule on questions relating to parental responsibility over M. According to CC, M had acquired habitual residence in Russia in October 2019. She claims that, even if he had not acquired habitual residence then, M had, subsequently acquired habitual residence there. VO contested the claim raised by CC that the action was inadmissible. He argued that M was still habitually resident in Sweden and that, in any event, he was habitually resident in Sweden when the action was brought.

Finally, on the same day the Court will publish AG M. Spuznar’s opinion on C-354/21, Registrų centras, on a request sent by the Lietuvos vyriausiasis administracinis teismas (Lithuania) relating to Regulation 650/2012. The facts of the case are summarized here. The question reads:

Must point (l) of Article 1(2) and Article 69(5) of Regulation (EU) No 650/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 July 2012 on jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition and enforcement of decisions and acceptance and enforcement of authentic instruments in matters of succession and on the creation of a European Certificate of Succession be interpreted as not precluding legal rules of the Member State in which the immovable property is situated under which the rights of ownership can be recorded in the Real Property Register on the basis of a European Certificate of Succession only in the case where all of the details necessary for registration are set out in that European Certificate of Succession?

The 5th chamber (judges E. Regan, I. Jarukaitis, D. Gratsias, Z. Csehi, and M. Ilešič reporting) will take care of the interpretation.

Legal Secretary CJEU Full Professor PIL University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain) Senior research fellow MPI Luxembourg (on leave)

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