December is a relatively short month at the Court of Justice. Very little is happening in PIL (much more on other topics such as the independence of judges or data protection). On 8 December 2022, a hearing will take place in relation to case C-638/22 PPU Rzecznik Praw Dziecka e.a., on the suspension of a Hague return decision – and that will be it.
Does Article 11(3) of Council Regulation (EC) No 2201/2003 [the Brussels II bis Regulation], and Article 22, Article 24, Article 27(6) and Article 28(1) and (2) of Council Regulation (EU) No 2019/1111 of 25 June 2019 on jurisdiction, the recognition and enforcement of decisions in matrimonial matters and the matters of parental responsibility [Brussels II ter], read in conjunction with Article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, preclude the application of a provision of national law under which, in cases involving the removal of a person subject to parental responsibility or custody conducted under the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction adopted in The Hague on 25 October 1980, the enforcement of an order for the removal of a person subject to parental responsibility or custody is suspended by operation of law where the Prokurator Generalny (Public Prosecutor General), Rzecznik Praw Dziecka (Commissioner for Children’s Rights) or Rzecznik Praw Obywatelskich (Ombudsman) submits a request to that effect to the Sąd Apelacyjny w Warszawie (Court of Appeal, Warsaw) within a period not exceeding two weeks from the day on which the order becomes final?
In case at hand, the father (applicant) and the mother (defendant) are Polish nationals who have resided and worked for more than ten years in Ireland. Their two children, aged 5 and 11 have both Polish and Irish nationality.
In the summer of 2021, the defendant went on vacation to Poland with her children with the applicant’s consent. In September 2021, she informed him that she had decided to stay with them in Poland permanently. Two month later, the applicant brought before the Polish courts an application under the 1980 Hague Convention for the return of the children. The court of first instance agreed to the request; a subsequent appeal by the defendant was dismissed. However, she failed to comply with the order for the return of the children within the time limit of 7 days. Therefore, on September 29, 2022, the applicant submitted a request to have an enforcement form appended to the return order, with a view to initiating enforcement proceedings. On 30 September 2022, the Rzecznik Praw Dziecka (Children’s Rights Ombudsman) submitted an application for a stay of execution of the return order, based on a provision of the Polish civil procedure code whereby “In cases involving the removal of a person subject to parental responsibility or custody brought under [the 1980 Hague Convention], at the request of the entity referred to in Article 5191(2)2 notified to the court referred to in Article 5182(1) within a period not exceeding two weeks from the date on which the order for the removal of the person subject to parental responsibility or custody becomes final, the enforcement of such order shall be suspended by operation of law”. On October 5, 2022, a similar request was made by the Prokurator Generalny (Attorney General).
The referring court’s application for the urgent procedure was granted. The case will be decided by the third chamber (judge K. Jürimäe reporting; M. Safjan, N. Piçarra, N. Jääskinen, M. Gavalec), supported by AG N. Emiliou.