IPrax ponovno o temah z raziskovalnega področja projekta PSEFS

12 marec 2019

V letošnji drugi številki revije IPRax – 2/2019 se trije prispevki lotevajo tem, s katerimi se ukvarjamo na projektu PSES. To so:

S. Kurth: Determining the habitual residence of a testator who alternately lived in two states

The article critically analyses the decision of the German Higher Regional Court (Oberlandesgericht) Hamm (reference number: 10 W 35/17) on the interpretation and application of the habitual residence concept to establish jurisdiction under Art. 4 (EU) Regulation No 650/2012. The Court relies on the concept to determine the habitual residence of a German testator who for several decades spent extended periods of time on the Spanish Costa Brava and in the German backcountry. The author argues for an autonomous interpretation of the Regulation and expresses regret over the approach taken by which the “habitual residence of the deceased” as the connecting factor under the Regulation is construed in line with national law. Moreover, the article examines the two definitions of habitual residence used by the Court and demonstrates that on closer scrutiny none of them is persuasive in light of the established canons of interpretation. The author argues to instead define the habitual residence of the deceased as the place where he is primarily integrated as well as regularly and consistently spends time. Further, the article criticises the Court’s findings on circumstantial evidence and, among others, demonstrates the importance of the deceased’s re-lationships with family and friends as pieces of circumstantial evidence neglected by the Court.

D. Coester-Waltjen: Marriages of Minors – Against the Legislative Furore

The German law against “child marriages” of 2017 was the subject matter of some recent court decisions. The German Supreme Court doubts in its decision the constitutionality of the “Law against Child Marriages” regarding the invalidation of marriages validly formed under the applicable foreign law, but void under the new German law in case one of the spouses was below the age of fourteen at the time of formation. The other cases concerned marriages each validly formed under the applicable law by two EU citizens in their respective home country. Since the bride in both cases was only 16, respectively 17 years old, the new German law obliges the German courts to invalidate these marriages, unless under extraordinary circumstances such invalidation would cause extreme hardship to the still minor spouse (or the spouse has reached majority and wants to stay in the marriage). Only in those cases, by way of exception, no invalidation should take place. Despite the pitfalls of the new law the courts succeed in reaching a sensible and adequate result. This article analyses how the courts struggle with the interpretation of the relevant provisions. Emphasis is placed on the European dimension of the topic as well as on the constitutional aspects in the relevant situations.

C. Benicke: The need for Adaptation (Anpassung) to cure deficiencies in the protection of the child’s financial interests caused by the parallel application of German inheritance law and English child custody law

The decision of the Munich Higher Regional Court raises the question of the extent of the father’s power of representation for his minor son under English law when he sells the interest in a German partnership which the son has inherited under German law. The parallel application of English law for the parental responsibility issues on the one hand and of German law as inheritance law for the acquisition of the partnership interest on the other hand leads to a legal gap in respect to the provisions aiming at the protection of the child’s financial interests. As German law regulates this issue in its child custody law through provisions limiting the extent of the parents’ powers to act as legal representatives, and English law protects the child’s interests in its inheritance law through provisions about the administration of the estate, neither of these provisions are invoked by the relevant choice of law rules. This raises the question of adaptation (Anpassung) as an instrument of private international law to avoid outcomes that are inconsistent with both legal orders at stake.