Article 24 - The rights of the child
Key facts of the case:
Request for a preliminary ruling from the High Court of Justice (England and Wales), Family Division.
Reference for a preliminary ruling – Urgent preliminary ruling procedure – Area of freedom, security and justice – Judicial cooperation in civil matters – Regulation (EC) No 2201/2003 – Article 10 – Jurisdiction in matters of parental responsibility – Abduction of a child – Jurisdiction of the courts of a Member State – Territorial scope – Removal of a child to a third State – Habitual residence acquired in that third State.
Outcome of the case:
On those grounds, the Court (Fifth Chamber) hereby rules:
Article 10 of Council Regulation (EC) No 2201/2003 of 27 November 2003 concerning jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in matrimonial matters and the matters of parental responsibility, repealing Regulation (EC) No 1347/2000, as amended by Council Regulation (EC) No 2116/2004 of 2 December 2004, must be interpreted as meaning that it is not applicable to a situation where a finding is made that a child has, at the time when an application relating to parental responsibility is brought, acquired his or her habitual residence in a third State following abduction to that State. In that situation, the jurisdiction of the court seised will have to be determined in accordance with the applicable international conventions, or, in the absence of any such international convention, in accordance with Article 14 of that regulation.
60) If the jurisdiction of the courts of the Member State of origin were to be retained unconditionally and indefinitely, notwithstanding the fact that the abduction to the third State has, in the meantime, met, inter alia, acquiescence on the part of any person, institution or other body holding rights of custody, and without there being any condition allowing for account to be taken of the specific circumstances characterising the situation of the child concerned, or for the best interests of that child to be protected, that retention of jurisdiction would prevent the court regarded as best placed to assess the measures to be adopted in the best interests of the child from being able to hear applications in relation to such measures. Such an outcome would be contrary to the objective pursued by Regulation No 2201/2003, which must be read, as is clear from recital 33 of that regulation, in the light of Article 24 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.