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Irish High Court judgment changes understanding of priority of proceedings under EU Brussels II

‘Lodged’ means ‘delivery to the court’ and not ‘issue’

A recent High Court judgment in the Republic of Ireland may significantly affect the practices of international divorce lawyers across Europe. In MH v MH [2015] IEHC 771 Mr Justice Henry Abbott has decided that "lodged" for the purposes of Article 16.1(a) of Brussels II Revised (Regulation (EC) No. 2201/2003) means delivery to the court and not issue, as had previously been understood by practitioners in England and Wales.

In an article for Family Law Week - The Race to Court under EU Brussels II: a new approach?Stuart Clark of The International Family Law Group LLP explains the judgment, which is subject to appeal, and its implications, if upheld, for practitioners and the courts.

In the article, Stuart Clark writes:

"The ramifications of the judgment, if upheld, are widespread. It will fundamentally change the practice by which we seek to gain priority of jurisdiction on behalf of our clients where there is a risk that the other spouse will issue elsewhere intra-EU. We will need to ensure the court has received our client's petition first in time. This may include efforts after hours to ensure the court has taken receipt of the documents. We will need to show evidence of delivery and/or receipt."

He notes that the court's practices too may have to be changed.

The article is here.

8/1/16