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Maintenance Obligations

Update - 19 April 2007

Diana Wallis has presented her Opinion as draftsperson to the Legal Affairs Committee on the Commission's proposal on Maintenance Obligations.

Click here to see the draft Opinion

Diana Wallis has been appointed draftsperson in the Legal Affairs Committee on the proposed Regulation on jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition and enforcement of decisions and cooperation in matters relating to maintenance obligations.

The UK has informed the Council on 27 April that it will not opt in the proposal, in accordance with a 1997 Protocol. It is incredibly disappointing and there is no clear evidence that the issues that might worry the UK could not be dealt within the legislative process, as will be the case for all other EU countries. This is a potentially very detrimental move for many British citizens.

For example, a British divorcee from a Maltese husband who was awarded maintenance payment for her children, living in the UK, has to apply for recognition of the judgement to the Maltese courts. This complex situation leads to a two step process and the mother may have to face a review of the judgement by the Maltese judges. The maintenance obligations Regulation would replace this costly, lengthy and potentially unfair procedure by a one step process only. Similarly, the Regulation would ensure that incoming judgements from other member states would benefit from this simplified procedure.

Background

The Regulation covers jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition and enforcement, cooperation and elimination of obstacles for the good conduct of proceedings.

The enhanced cooperation will apply which means that the leading committee, the civil liberties committee, should accept without a vote all the amendments adopted in the legal affairs committee. The timetable will be agreed jointly by the two Rapporteurs (Diana Wallis for JURI and Genowefa Grabowska for LIBE).

Documents