The 2023 special issue of the open-access journal Papers di diritto europeo collects the proceedings of the conference organized in the framework of the “Identities on the move. Documents cross borders – DxB” project (see this post).
Opened by a foreword by Maria Caterina Baruffi and Laura Calafà, the issue features the following papers.
Małgorzata Balwicka-Szczyrba, Anna Sylwestrzak and Dominik Damian Mielewczyk, Transcription of foreign civil status documents of children of same-sex parents in Polish law
In the Polish legal system marriage is a formal union of a man and a woman. Due to a different definition of marriage in some foreign legislations doubts arise as to the transcription of foreign civil status records in which spouses or same-sex parents are registered. Entry in the Polish register has far-reaching consequences, both public law and private law. Civil status records constitute the sole evidence of the events contained therein, and their incompatibility may be proven in court proceedings and sometimes by administrative action. Civil status records are intrinsically linked to personal and family law, and any refusal to transcribe them will have consequences in terms of the legal situation of the person concerned.
The study analyses the positions of jurisprudence and doctrine relating to the problem under examination. It was found that on the basis of applications for the transcription of birth certificates of children of same-sex parents, two disputable positions have developed in the jurisprudence. Public administration bodies and administrative courts generally refuse the transcription. However, 2018 marked a break in the previous line of rulings of the Supreme Administrative Court, which allowed for such a possibility. However, the reasoning raised in the justification of the court’s decision attracted widespread criticism, which resulted in the lack of consolidation of this view.
The research carried out into the problem of the transcription of foreign civil status documents of children of same-sex parents under Polish law has shown that the Polish legal system is not adapted to the transcription of foreign civil status documents of children of same-sex parents.
In conclusion, it should be stated that in view of the noticeable conflict between the fundamental principles of the Polish legal system (including the public order clause) and the rights of the child (including personal rights), the lack of the possibility of making transcriptions of foreign civil status documents of children of same-sex parents unduly violates the principle of the welfare of the child. In particular, it results in a far-reaching diminution of the rights of the child, i.a. due to the impossibility of obtaining an identity card. This state of affairs requires urgent intervention either through a change in the direction of interpretation of the existing provisions of the Act on Civil Status Records, or through amendments to this Act.
Matteo Caldironi, The circulation of the child’s legal status in Italy: open issues
The essay aims to deepen the theme of the circulation of the legal status of minors, with reference to those conceived using ART (artificial reproductive technologies). It will focus on the prejudice to the rights of minors and the downgrading of their status caused by the lack of homogeneous recognition of the phenomena of social parenthood in EU countries. The analysis will start with two pronouncements of the Italian Constitutional Court (nos. 32 and 33 of 2021) that have dealt with the recognition of the parental relationship with the intentional parents in two cases of ART carried out abroad, where the practices are prohibited in our country. The first case involved the practice of heterologous fertilization carried out by a female couple and the second involved surrogacy. Among the many issues addressed, it is particularly interesting that it was found impossible to recognize the foreign provision of the filiation relationship due to the existence of public order obstacles presented by the criminal prohibition of surrogacy in Italy. However, also due to the lack of other adequate instruments of recognition under domestic law, the Court finds a void of protection that, even if «intolerable», must be resolved by the national legislator. In other words, the Constitutional judge notes that the «best interest of the child» cannot be automatically prejudiced by the other interests at stake, but the most appropriate balance is left to the exercise of legislative discretion.
It will then be shown how an attempt has been made at a European level to respond to the same problems. In its recent judgment (14 December 2021) the Court of Justice ruled that Member States (MS) are required to recognize the filiation relationship with both parents (even if the parental relationship with the intended parent is not recognized by the MS) at least to allow the child to exercise, together with each of their two parents, their right to free movement. On the other hand, both parents must have a document authorizing them to travel with that child. Indeed, while it is true that the status of persons falls within the competence of the MS, they are free to provide or not, in their national law, for same-sex marriage and social parenthood. However, in exercising this competence, each Member State must respect Union law and the provisions of the Treaty relating to freedom of movement and residence for citizens of the Union, recognizing, to this end, the status of persons established in another Member State in accordance with the law of that State.
In conclusion, the paper will show how Regulation (EU) 2016/1191 can eventually hypothesize an alternative instrument such as common European civil status framework to recognize a «unique» legal status that thus best protects the best interest of the child in a broader context.
Cristina Campiglio, «Recognition» of civil status records in the aftermath of Regulation (EU) 2016/1191 on public documents: a new functional identity for EU citizens
Regulation (EU) 2016/1191 sets the objective of ensuring the free movement of persons through the free circulation of public documents establishing «facts» standing for legally defined and relevant situations (name, marriage, parenthood, etc.). As the aim of this Regulation «is not to change the substantive law of the Member States», the interpreter is confronted with notions whose meaning is liable to vary from State to State. The lack of harmonization of the notions of «marriage» and «parenthood», in particular, re-proposes the characterization problems already encountered with regard to the EU Citizens’ Free Movement Directive 2004/38/EC, which includes spouses and direct descendants among the family members, although without providing a definition. Regulation (EU) 2016/1191 is expressly not intended to apply «to the recognition in a Member State of legal effects relating to the content of public documents issued by the authorities of another Member State» (Art. 2(4)). In other words, the document certifying the existence of a marriage or parenthood guarantees the spouse or parent/child of an EU citizen free movement to another Member State, regardless of whether the marriage or parenthood at issue may be recognised in that State. In line with the Regulation,in the 2018 Coman judgmentthe Court of Justice – applying the principle of mutual recognition – stated that, in the name of the right to free movement, a Member State cannot refuse the EU citizen’s same-sex spouse a right of residence on the ground that the law of that Member State does not provide for marriage between persons of the same sex. Given the limited effects of the recognition of this marriage, the Court has found no evidence of an attack on national identity (Art. 4(2) TEU) and consequently of a threat to public order of the Member State concerned. The same conclusion has been reached by the Court of Justice in the 2021 Pancharevo case, regarding a child born through medically assisted procreation. Birth certificates drawn up in a Member State shall be recognized by the other Member States as part of the exercise of the rights under Art. 21 TFEU. On the contrary, there is no obligation for other Member States to recognize that filiation relationship for other purposes, since respect for national identity (and public policy) may be invoked in this regard. In summary, the recognition of personal status appears now to be heading towards a double track: with no control for the sole purpose of enabling such persons to exercise the rights they enjoy under EU law, and still subject to the traditional limit of public policy for the purpose of exercising the rights conferred under national law. As a consequence, the same person may be considered married or parent for the purposes of circulation within the EU, while unmarried or not parent for civil purposes. Beyond practical utility, the compatibility of such a split personal identity – one merely functional to circulation, while the other one to its full extent – with the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights principles may be called into question.
Mădălina Cocoșatu and Claudia Elena Marinică, Case law of the European Court of Justice on free movement of persons and public documents: focus on Romania
Free movement of persons in the European Union, a foundation of European Union citizenship which implies an increase in the movement and cross-border nature of public documents, is a topic that has become part of the discussions in the European Union and in the member states in recent years, that are known for their commitment to help regulate a regional order regarding the mobility of citizens in an area without borders. It was therefore not at all surprising that Regulation (EU) 2016/1191 on the promotion of free movement of citizens was adopted and entered into force by simplifying the requirements for the presentation of certain public documents in the EU, as a facilitator and accelerator factor for enforcing cross-border free movement, so that now, five years after its adoption, its effects are increasingly visible.
The purpose of this article is to encourage the analysis and reflection at the level of the European Union and at national level (in Romania) on a series of challenges determined by the jurisprudence of the Court of Justice of the European Union, which seeks to ensure compliance with the provisions of the Treaties, the Charter of Fundamental Rights, as well as all other legislative acts in force. Such an approach cannot be taken out of the context of public and private international law applicable in this field and of treaties, conventions or agreements to which Member States are a part of, in particular the Convention concerning the abolishing of the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents, signed in The Hague on 5 October 1961 (Apostille Convention) regarding public documents and their authenticity but it should only be regarded as a supplement.
The article will focus on the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union related to the scope of Regulation (EU) 2016/1191, in cases concerning citizenship and a number of family law issues that have a direct impact on public documents and the free movement of persons, without bringing prejudice to the national identity or public policy of the Member States. The analysis mainly concerns the different legislative regulations of the Member States and how to use their common points that should follow the provisions of Regulation (EU) 2016/1191, for the most efficient free movement of persons and public documents in order to ensure the predictability of EU freedoms in cases with a cross-border impact. The conclusions drawn from this analysis emphasize the need for collaboration between theoretical and practical aspects, taking into account the considerable impact on the authenticity, recognition and legal security of these documents that are meant to create the facilitation of free movement in the European Union, while respecting EU law and the material law of the Member States.
Ester di Napoli, Giacomo Biagioni, Ornella Feraci, Renzo Calvigioni e Paolo Pasqualis, La circolazione dello status dei minori attraverso le «frontiere» d’Europa: intersezioni tra diritto dell’Unione e diritto internazionale privato alla luce della sentenza Pancharevo
The paper moves from the judgment issued by the Court of Justice of the European Union in the Pancharevo case to reflect on the repercussions, in the context of the intra-EU circulation of the status of children created abroad, on the level of substantive European Union Law, and of Private International Law, as well as in the practical perspective of those professionals, such as the registrar and notary, are closely engaged with the recognition of personal and family status, and its respective implications, in the requested Member State.
Marco Gerbaudo, Public documents on the move in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice: uniformisation or free circulation?
The maintenance of the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (AFSJ), introduced with the Amsterdam Treaty, is one of the main challenges of EU legislation on freedom of movement and external migration. An impressive body of legislation has been adopted to «achieve», «create», «maintain» and «develop» such an area. In 2016, Regulation 2016/1191 was added to the group. The simplification of the requirements for presenting certain public documents is indeed purposed to ease free movement and, consequently, maintain the AFSJ.
The circulation of public documents is an important issue also in the other pillar of the Area: external migration. Contrary to freedom of movement, migration from third countries is neither free nor communitarised, as Member States retain a great degree of discretion in regulating migration flows. At the same time, once entered the AFSJ, third-country nationals are entitled to a certain degree of intra-EU mobility. To better control and facilitate such mobility, the format of migration-related public documents, such as residence permits and visas, has been uniformised across the EU. These legal acts are expressively purposed to «establish progressively» an Area of Freedom, Security and Justice.
This paper aims to compare administrative cooperation on public documents in the field of free movement, on one side, and external migration and intra-EU mobility, on the other. Through the analysis of primary sources, Regulation 2016/1191 will be compared with Regulation 1030/2002 (uniform format for residence permits) and Regulation 1683/95 (uniform format for visas). Differences and similarities between uniform formats and multilingual standard forms will be assessed. Also, the respective provisions on anti-fraud and data collection on IT databases will be analysed.
The free circulation of public documents is an often overlooked yet critical component of the AFSJ. It is thanks to these practicalities that values such as freedom of movement and common policies as migration become (or not) a reality. Many elements of Regulation 2016/1191 are an advancement if compared to the provisions governing the uniformisation of visas and residence permits. However, if compared to the uniformisation process of migration-related documents, free circulation of EU public documents still maintains several flaws and imperfections.
KEYWORDS: Area of Freedom, Security and Justice; civil status records; visa; residence permit; uniformisation; free circulation.
Marion Ho-Dac, Elsa Bernard, Susanne Lilian Gössl, Martina Melcher and Nicolas Nord, Reassessing Regulation (EU) 2016/1191 on public documents in the light of EU citizenship
The contribution aims to analyse the effects of cross-border circulation of public documents under EU law (i.e. mere circulation of the instrumentum, exclusive to any recognition of the negotium), following a twofold approach based on legal methodology (i.e. EU free movement law and private international law techniques) and legal policy (i.e. EU integration and functionalism).
The starting point of the analysis is the current contradiction/tension within the EU legal order between, on the one hand, the need to ensure the permanence of the personal status of individuals and families (such as family name, parentage or marital status) on the basis of EU citizenship (Arts. 18 to 21 TFEU) and, on the other hand, the limited scope and effects of the legal instruments in force in EU law, i.e. Regulation 2016/1191 on public documents, complemented by international conventions in force within all or some Member States, such as the HCCH Apostille Convention of 1961 and ICCS Convention (No 16).
In this context, the article proposes to explain this contradiction, to assess it and finally to submit legal ways to overcome it, while considering the restraints of political feasibility. It provides for a cross-cutting analysis of the (above-mentioned) legal frameworks, complemented by relevant case law of the CJEU, of the ECtHR and of national courts of the Member States, under this specific perspective.
Fabienne Jault-Seseke, Right to identity and undocumented migrants
In various cases, migrants have no documents or no valid documents. Their right to identity is therefore threatened. There are various solutions to combat this risk. On the one hand, the improvement of civil status services in countries of origin, namely through digitalization or biometric techniques, is to be explored. On the other, reconstitution of civil identity in transit and host countries should also be considered.
Eva Kaseva, The scope of Regulation (EU) 2016/1191 in the light of Bulgarian domestic law
This paper is focused on the Regulation (EU) 2016/1191 – Public Documents Regulation. In particular, it concerns the general characteristic of the Regulation, the conditions to be met in order to apply the Regulation, and its scope of application. The analysis addresses specifically the documents that can be issued in the Republic of Bulgaria under its domestic law to certify the facts included in the scope of Regulation under Art. 2(1)(a)-(m). It is indicated which national act settles each document and clarified which are the requirements to be issued.
Francesca Maoli, Civil status and circulation of public documents in EU and worldwide: the need for a European common framework for third countries
While the EU fosters and protects the right of free movement of its citizens, it is necessarily concerned by the reception of third-country nationals. Migration issues are among the EU competences in the area of freedom, security and justice. In both scenarios – i.e. intra-EU movements and immigration from outside the EU – there is a need to ensure the continuity of personal and family status: this represents a condition of effectiveness, as concerns the enjoyment of rights. With specific reference to third country nationals, the implementation of the European migration rules requires the resolution of civil status issues for which there is no common approach so far. However, the simplifications introduced by the EU Regulation 2016/1191 do not work for documents from third countries. The EU rules coexist with the fragmented (yet, in some cases, more advanced) regime contained in international conventions. However, this does not mean that the EU cannot have uniform rules to deal with such documents (compare with foreign judgments and the ratification of the 2019 Hague Convention). Common rules for public documents on civil status would reinforce the coherence of the EU migration law.
The need for a common legal framework is the focus of the present paper, which highlights the opportunity for the EU to act in synergy with the Hague Conference on Private International Law and the International Commission on Civil Status.
Guillermo Palao, Challenges to the codification of cross-border dimension of the digitalization of civil status records and registers
The increase of internationalisation and digitalisation are two essential elements deeply affecting the current activity of civil status registers. The incorporation of new technological tools in the management of civil status registers has proved to be highly beneficial, affecting also to their international dimension and the cross-border circulation of civil status records. As a result, an intense codification effort has taken place at the national, regional and international levels over the last few years, to promote the digitisation and the international circulation of civil status documents. The global challenges faced by this matter call for the need of supra-national responses, although the high level of complexity deriving from the plurality of codification venues and applicable legal sources, as well as the limited and fragmentary nature of the normative solutions contained in such instruments. Three are the main international codification venues whose normative results should be analysed from the perspective of the digitisation and the internationalisation of the activity of civil status registers: the HCCH, the ICCS/ CIEC and the EU. In this respect, despite of the undeniable efforts made in the different codification centres, it is advisable to reconsider the current model, with the aim of taking full advantage of the opportunities offered by ICTs and reducing the legal obstacles that the current situation generates in the international mobility of persons. Therefore, this would require, a deepening of dialogue and constructive cooperation between the different institutions involved in this area and to take advantage of the strengths offered by the various codification initiatives.
KEYWORDS: Civil status registers; digital civil status records; cross-border circulation of public documents; private international law; Hague Conference on Private International Law; International Commission on Civil Status; European Union.
Stefania Pia Perrino, «If you are a parent in one country, you are a parent in every country»: is it true for social parenthood?
Parenthood is the legal relationship between a child and the child’s parents and recently EU citizens are establishing this relationship through consent or intended parent agreements, without any genetic link. The new concept is known in case law as social parenthood and can be traced in different scenarios: same sex couples’ adoption; artificial reproduction; surrogacy; post mortem fertilization.
The paper will investigate if the lack of a common notion of social parenthood can constitute an obstacle for the free movement of citizens and analyze the recent case Pancharevo of the Court of Justice of the European Union.
Marco Poli, Quo vadis mater? Motherhood, freedom of movement, and the circulation of documents
Building on the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) judgment on the case C-490/20, V.M.A. v. Stolichna obshtina, rayon Pancharevo, this paper considers the circulation of birth certificates under Regulation (EU) 2016/1191 investigating its effects on the legal notion of motherhood.
Developing reproductive technology and social changes impacted differently on the EU Member States’ national law on parentage and motherhood. In this sense, as seen in the aforementioned CJEU judgment, some legal scenarios, such as the Bulgarian one, recognise the legal effects of the sole biological tie between the child and their mother, clinging on to a monist notion of mother. Differently, other national laws opened up to a pluralist concept of motherhood: indeed, in addition to childbirth, intent gives rise to the legal status of mother. For example, under Spanish law, both the woman who delivered the baby and the female social parent are recognised the status of mother. In such a diverse lawscape, free movement and respect for human rights have made motherhood accessible to a wider group of people. What happens then when a monist legal system deals with a birth certificate issued for one of its citizens by another Member State recognizing intent-based motherhood? Answering this question will help us get closer to understanding quo vadis mater?.
In order to do so, this paper primarily explores whether the circulation of birth certificates implies circulation of status as well. As explicitly stated in Recital 18, the aim of Regulation 2016/1191 is not to change substantive law relating to parenthood. Furthermore, the same recital provides that the Regulation should not affect the recognition in one Member State of legal effects relating to the content of a public document issued in another Member State. Secondly, the paper aims at investigating to what extent, if any, the circulation of public documents under Regulation 2016/1191 makes a contribution to the shaping the legal notion of motherhood. Despite the EU Court of Justice’s use of gender-neutral language concerning parentage (i.e., parents, instead of mothers), this work aims at exploring the impact of legal developments concerning the circulation of birth certificates on motherhood.
Irena Ryšánková, Die Verordnung im Vergleich zu den Übereinkommen der CIEC und anderen relevanten internationalen Übereinkommen (z.B. Haager Apostille-Übereinkommen (1961))
The present article gives a brief overview of how cross-border movement of public documents is regulated in different instruments of International and European Civil Procedure. After explaining the role of legalisation, it then focuses on the Regulation (EU) 2016/1191 and compares its dispositions with the 1961 Hague Convention, the Convention of 25 May 1987 abolishing the legalisation of documents in the Member States of the European Union and some relevant conventions of the ICCS.
Brody Warren and Nicole Sims, The changing nature of trust: the Apostille Convention, digital public documents, and the chain of authentication
The Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents (Apostille Convention) was developed in response to an increasing number of public documents circulating around the world and forged a new path in the authentication of foreign public documents. At its core, the Convention established a simplified mechanism by which contracting parties could trust that the documents they were receiving were authentic. The essence of this solution was the Apostille certificate and the authorities designated as competent for its issuance.
More recently, the European Union (EU) has attempted to further simplify the circulation of public documents between its member states, most notably through Regulation (EU) 2016/1191. While the Regulation relies on the inherent trust between EU Member States to better the approach used by the Convention, its goal is the same: to abolish the authentication requirements for presenting public documents abroad.
Over sixty years on from the adoption of the Apostille Convention, public documents are increasingly executed in digital rather than paper form. This rapidly evolving technological landscape inspired the establishment of the electronic Apostille Programme (e-APP), to promote and encourage the digitalisation of the Apostille process. In comparison, the Regulation has not needed any special programme or initiative to operate in a digital context, as it was developed with the realities of digital public documents in mind.
As the digital transition intensifies, both the Convention and the Regulation face similar challenges in overcoming the hesitation of authorities and individuals with respect to digital public documents. However, as governments and citizens become more comfortable with the technology, and more importantly the security underlying it, the Regulation may be able to reach its full potential and the issuance of Apostilles under the Convention may become entirely unnecessary.
Against this background, this paper considers how the pursuit of trust in the authentication process has shaped the development of the Apostille Convention. The authors also consider the EU Regulation, as it follows in the footsteps of an instrument 50 years its senior. With the digital environment in mind, the paper concludes that technology will eventually enable ultimate trust in the authentication of public documents.