MEPs are continuing to call for a Regulation on applicable law and jurisdiction in matrimonial matters (Rome III), despite the decision of EU Justice Ministers on 5 to 6 June that it would not be possible to get the unanimity needed to adopt the proposal.
The Regulation would afford parties a degree of choice regarding the competent court or the law applicable in divorce cases, followed by conflict of law rules to ensure that Member States' courts would normally apply the same substantive law to avoid forum shopping. MEPs are expected to vote on the matter on 11 October, having considered in committee on 9 September that the proposal should also be amended to provide more information to couples on the repercussions of their choices.
In the meantime, nine countries, France, Italy, Spain, Romania, Austria, Hungary, Greece, Slovenia and Luxembourg, have agreed to use the enhanced cooperation procedure. This procedure allows a legislative instrument to be negotiated and adopted by a group of eight or more Member States. Any enhanced cooperation agreement would in principle only affect the Member States that sign up to it.
This article is reproduced with kind permission of the Law Societies' Brussels Office. © 2008 Law Societies' Brussels Office.