Commission staff working document - Executive summary - Impact assessment for the proposal for a Council Regulation amending Regulation (EC) no 2201/2003 as regards jurisidction and introducing rules concerning applicable law inmatrimonial matters (COM (2006) 399 final) (SEC(2006) 949)
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COMMISSION STAFF WORKING DOCUMENT EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
IMPACT ASSESSMENT FOR THE PROPOSAL FOR A COUNCIL REGULATION AMENDING REGULATION (EC) NO 2201/2003 AS REGARDS JURISIDCTION AND INTRODUCING RULES CONCERNING APPLICABLE LAW IN MATRIMONIAL MATTERS (COM (2006) 399 final)(SEC(2006) 949)
IMPACT ASSESSMENT FOR THE PROPOSAL FOR A COUNCIL REGULATION AMENDING REGULATION (EC) NO 2201/2003 AS REGARDS JURISIDCTION AND INTRODUCING RULES CONCERNING APPLICABLE LAW IN MATRIMONIAL MATTERS
This Impact Assessment, which concerns applicable law and jurisdiction in divorce matters, has been drawn up on the basis of a study prepared for the Commission by an external contractor. It describes the problems that international couples may encounter when they want to dissolve their marriage and sets out policy objectives of the proposal: to enhance legal certainty and predictability, increase flexibility and party autonomy, prevent "rush to court" by one spouse and ensure access to court.
The Impact Assessment identifies the following problems under the current situation:
- difficulties for spouses to predict which law will apply in matrimonial proceedings;
- insufficient flexibility for spouses to choose applicable law and competent court;
- risk of "rush to court" by one spouse and
- difficulties for couples of different nationalities living in third States.
The Impact Assessment analyses the above problems and presents six possible policy options: (1) status quo (2) increased cooperation between Member States, (3) harmonising conflict-of-law rules and introducing a limited possibility for spouses to choose applicable law,(4) revising the jurisdiction rules in Article 3 of Council Regulation 2201/2003, (5) giving the spouses a limited possibility to choose the competent court and (6) revising the rule on residual jurisdiction in Article 7 of Council Regulation 2201/2003.
An assessment of the benefits and disadvantages of the six policy options leads to the conclusion that none of the options would fully address all the problems, but that the most efficient response would be a combination of several policy options. The preferred policy option is therefore to harmonise the national conflict-of-law rules and giving the spouses a limited possibility to choose the applicable law (policy option 3), provide the spouses with a limited choice of jurisdiction (policy option 5) and to adopt common rules on residual jurisdiction to ensure access to court for EU citizens living in third States (policy option 6).
The increasing mobility of citizens within the European Union has resulted in an increasing number of international marriages where the spouses are of different nationalities or live in different Member States or live in a Member State of which they are not nationals. Part 3 of the Impact Assessment provides an extensive overview of the number of international divorces and marriages in the EU based on data from the Member States' statistical offices.
 See "Study to inform a subsequent Impact Assessment on the Commission proposal on jurisdiction and applicable law in divorce matters", drawn up by the European Policy Evaluation Consortium (EPEC), available at the following web-site: http://europa.eu.int/comm/justice_home/news/consulting_public/news_consulting_public_en.htm.