Accept Refuse

EUR-Lex Access to European Union law

Back to EUR-Lex homepage

This document is an excerpt from the EUR-Lex website

Document 61981CJ0025

Judgment of the Court of 31 March 1982.
C.H.W. v G.J.H.
Reference for a preliminary ruling: Hoge Raad - Netherlands.
Brussels Convention- Interpretation of the terms "wills and succession", "rights in property arising out a matrimonial relationship", "provisional, including protective measures" and of Article 18.
Case 25/81.

European Court Reports 1982 -01189

ECLI identifier: ECLI:EU:C:1982:116

61981J0025

Judgment of the Court of 31 March 1982. - C.H.W. v G.J.H. - Reference for a preliminary ruling: Hoge Raad - Netherlands. - Brussels Convention- Interpretation of the terms "wills and succession", "rights in property arising out a matrimonial relationship", "provisional, including protective measures" and of Article 18. - Case 25/81.

European Court reports 1982 Page 01189
Spanish special edition Page 00269


Summary
Parties
Subject of the case
Grounds
Decision on costs
Operative part

Keywords


1 . CONVENTION ON JURISDICTION AND THE ENFORCEMENT OF JUDGMENTS - SCOPE - APPLICATION FOR INTERIM MEASURES RELATING TO A DISPUTE CONCERNING THE PROPRIETARY RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN SPOUSES - EXCLUSION - CONDITIONS

( CONVENTION OF 27 SEPTEMBER 1968 , ART . 1 )

2 . CONVENTION ON JURISDICTION AND THE ENFORCEMENT OF JUDGMENTS - SCOPE - PROVISIONAL OR PROTECTIVE MEASURES RELATING TO EXCLUDED MATTERS - INCLUSION - NONE

( CONVENTION OF 27 SEPTEMBER 1968 , ARTS 1 AND 24 )

3 . CONVENTION ON JURISDICTION AND THE ENFORCEMENT OF JUDGMENTS - PROROGATION OF JURISDICTION - APPEARANCE OF DEFENDANT BEFORE THE COURT SEISED - APPEARANCE NOT ONLY TO CONTEST THE JURISDICTION BUT ALSO TO MAKE SUBMISSIONS ON THE SUBSTANCE - APPEARANCE NOT CONFERRING JURISDICTION

( CONVENTION OF 27 SEPTEMBER 1968 , ART . 18 )

Summary


1 . AN APPLICATION FOR PROVISIONAL MEASURES TO SECURE THE DELIVERY UP OF A DOCUMENT IN ORDER TO PREVENT IT FROM BEING USED AS EVIDENCE IN AN ACTION CONCERNING A HUSBAND ' S MANAGEMENT OF HIS WIFE ' S PROPERTY DOES NOT FALL WITHIN THE SCOPE OF THE CONVENTION OF 27 SEPTEMBER 1968 ON JURISDICTION AND THE ENFORCEMENT OF JUDGMENTS IN CIVIL AND COMMERCIAL MATTERS IF SUCH MANAGEMENT IS CLOSELY CONNECTED WITH THE RELATIONSHIP RESULTING DIRECTLY FROM THE MARRIAGE BOND .

2 . ARTICLE 24 OF THE CONVENTION OF 27 SEPTEMBER 1968 MAY NOT BE RELIED ON TO BRING WITHIN THE SCOPE OF THE CONVENTION PROVISIONAL OR PROTECTIVE MEASURES RELATING TO MATTERS WHICH ARE EXCLUDED FROM IT .

3.ARTICLE 18 OF THE CONVENTION OF 27 SEPTEMBER 1968 MUST BE INTERPRETED AS MEANING THAT IT ALLOWS THE DEFENDANT NOT ONLY TO CONTEST THE JURISDICTION BUT TO SUBMIT AT THE SAME TIME IN THE ALTERNATIVE A DEFENCE ON THE SUBSTANCE OF THE ACTION WITHOUT HOWEVER LOSING THE RIGHT TO RAISE AN OBJECTION OF LACK OF JURISDICTION .

Parties


IN CASE 25/81

REFERENCE TO THE COURT UNDER THE PROTOCOL OF 3 JUNE 1971 ON THE INTERPRETATION BY THE COURT OF JUSTICE OF THE CONVENTION OF 27 SEPTEMBER 1968 ON JURISDICTION AND THE ENFORCEMENT OF JUDGMENTS IN CIVIL AND COMMERCIAL MATTERS BY THE HOGE RAAD DER NEDERLANDEN ( SUPREME COURT OF THE NETHERLANDS ) FOR A PRELIMINARY RULING IN THE ACTION PENDING BEFORE THAT COURT BETWEEN

C . H . W ., RESIDING AT EKEREN , BELGIUM , APPELLANT IN CASSATION AGAINST A JUDGMENT OF THE GERECHTSHOF ( REGIONAL COURT OF APPEAL ), THE HAGUE , DELIVERED BETWEEN THE PARTIES AND PRONOUNCED ON 14 DECEMBER 1979 AND RESPONDENT IN THE CROSS-APPEAL IN CASSATION , REPRESENTED BY O . DE SAVORNIN LOHMAN , ADVOCATE AT THE HOGE RAAD ,

AND

G . J . H ., RESIDING AT BRASSCHAAT , BELGIUM , RESPONDENT IN THE APPEAL IN CASSATION AND APPELLANT IN THE CROSS-APPEAL IN CASSATION AGAINST THE SAID JUDGMENT , REPRESENTED BY P . MOUT , ALSO AN ADVOCATE AT THE HOGE RAAD ,

Subject of the case


ON THE INTERPRETATION OF ARTICLES 1 , 18 AND 24 ( POSSIBLY IN CONJUNCTION WITH ARTICLE 6 ) OF THE CONVENTION ON JURISDICTION AND THE ENFORCEMENT OF JUDGMENTS IN CIVIL AND COMMERCIAL MATTERS CONCLUDED IN BRUSSELS ON 27 SEPTEMBER 1968 .

Grounds


1 BY JUDGMENT DATED 6 FEBRUARY 1981 WHICH WAS RECEIVED AT THE COURT ON 17 MARCH 1981 THE HOGE RAAD DER NEDERLANDEN ( SUPREME COURT OF THE NETHERLANDS ) REFERRED TO THE COURT FOR A PRELIMINARY RULING UNDER THE PROTOCOL OF 3 JUNE 1971 ON THE INTERPRETATION BY THE COURT OF JUSTICE OF THE CONVENTION OF 27 SEPTEMBER 1968 ON JURISDICTION AND THE ENFORCEMENT OF JUDGMENTS IN CIVIL AND COMMERCIAL MATTERS ( HEREINAFTER REFERRED TO AS ' ' THE CONVENTION ' ' ) FOUR QUESTIONS AS TO THE INTERPRETATION OF ARTICLES 1 , 18 AND 24 OF THAT CONVENTION .

2 THOSE QUESTIONS WERE RAISED IN THE CONTEXT OF PROCEEDINGS BETWEEN A MARRIED COUPLE OF NETHERLANDS NATIONALITY DOMICILED IN BELGIUM CONCERNING THE HUSBAND ' S MANAGEMENT OF HIS WIFE ' S SEPARATE PROPERTY . BECAUSE THE WIFE WISHED TO PRODUCE IN EVIDENCE A DOCUMENT DRAWN UP BY THE HUSBAND MARKED ' ' CODICIL ' ' THE TERMS OF WHICH WERE INTENDED TO EXEMPT THE WIFE ' S SEPARATE PROPERTY FROM THE LIABILITIES RESULTING FROM HIS MANAGEMENT OF THAT PROPERTY , THE HUSBAND MADE AN APPLICATION TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE ARRONDISSEMENTSRECHTBANK ( DISTRICT COURT ), ROTTERDAM , FOR AN ORDER REQUIRING THE DOCUMENT TO BE RETURNED TO HIM AND AN INJUNCTION AGAINST ITS BEING USED AS EVIDENCE .

3 THE JURISDICTION OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE ARRONDISSEMENTSRECHTBANK TO ORDER DELIVERY UP OF THE DOCUMENT WAS CHALLENGED AND THE CASE WAS BROUGHT BEFORE THE GERECHTSHOF ( REGIONAL COURT OF APPEAL ), THE HAGUE , AND THEN BEFORE THE HOGE RAAD WHICH DECIDED THAT AN INTERPRETATION OF THE CONVENTION WAS NEEDED TO RESOLVE THE DISPUTE AND REFERRED THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS TO THE COURT :

' ' 1 . DOES THE EXCLUSION OF ' WILLS AND SUCCESSION ' FROM THE APPLICATION OF THE CONVENTION , PROVIDED FOR BY THE OPENING WORDS OF THE SECOND PARAGRAPH OF ARTICLE 1 AND SUBPARAGRAPH ( 1 ) THEREOF , APPLY TO APPLICATIONS BY THE PERSON MAKING A CODICIL HELD BY ANOTHER PERSON FOR THE DELIVERY UP OF THAT CODICIL , THE DESTRUCTION OF PHOTOCOPIES , TRANSCRIPTS AND REPRODUCTIONS THEREOF , AND AN INJUNCTION AGAINST HOLDING OR USING ( OR CAUSING TO BE HELD OR USED ) ANY PHOTOCOPY , TRANSCRIPT OR REPRODUCTION OF THAT DOCUMENT FOR THE PURPOSE OF PREVENTING THE DECLARATIONS CONTAINED IN THE CODICIL FROM BEING USED AGAINST THE PERSON MAKING THE CODICIL AS EVIDENCE IN A LEGAL DISPUTE WHICH DOES NOT RELATE TO A WILL OR SUCCESSION?

2.DOES THE EXCLUSION OF ' RIGHTS IN PROPERTY ARISING OUT OF A MATRIMONIAL RELATIONSHIP ' FROM THE APPLICATION OF THE CONVENTION , PROVIDED FOR BY THE OPENING WORDS OF THE CONVENTION , PROVIDED FOR BY THE OPENING WORDS OF THE SECOND PARAGRAPH OF ARTICLE 1 AND SUBPARAGRAPH ( 1 ) THEREOF , APPLY TO APPLICATIONS AS DESCRIBED IN 1 . ABOVE IF THEY ARE MADE IN ORDER TO PREVENT THE DECLARATIONS CONTAINED IN THE CODICIL FROM BEING USED AGAINST THE PERSON MAKING THE CODICIL IN A LEGAL DISPUTE ABOUT ALLEGED UNAUTHORIZED OR IMPROPER MANAGEMENT BY THAT PERSON OF HIS WIFE ' S SEPARATE PROPERTY , WHERE THAT MANAGEMENT MUST BE REGARDED AS BEING CLOSELY CONNECTED WITH PROPRIETARY RELATIONSHIPS FLOWING DIRECTLY FROM THE MARRIAGE BOND?

3.DOES THE CONCEPT OF ' PROVISIONAL , INCLUDING PROTECTIVE , MEASURES ' REFERRED TO IN ARTICLE 24 COVER THE POSSIBILITY , PROVIDED FOR IN THE EIGHTEENTH SECTION OF PART 13 OF THE FIRST BOOK OF THE NETHERLANDS CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE ( WETBOEK VAN BURGERLIJKE RECHTSVORDERING ), OF APPLYING FOR INTERIM RELIEF IN INTERLOCUTORY PROCEEDINGS? DOES THE FACT THAT THE RELIEF IS SOUGHT IN CONNECTION WITH OTHER PROCEEDINGS PENDING IN THE NETHERLANDS AFFECT THE ANSWER?

4.MUST THE ENTERING OF APPEARANCE BY THE DEFENDANT SOLELY IN ORDER TO CONTEST THE JURISDICTION OF THE COURT , REFERRED TO IN THE SECOND SENTENCE OF ARTICLE 18 , BE TAKEN TO COVER A CASE WHERE THE DEFENDANT CONTESTS THE COURT ' S JURISDICTION AND AT THE SAME TIME CHALLENGES IN THE ALTERNATIVE THE SUBSTANCE OF THE APPLICATION IN CASE THE COURT DECIDES THAT IT HAS JURISDICTION?

' '

THE FIRST AND SECOND QUESTIONS

4 THE ISSUE RAISED BY THE FIRST AND SECOND QUESTIONS IS WHETHER AN APPLICATION FOR A PROVISIONAL MEASURE FOR THE RETURN OF A DOCUMENT MARKED ' ' CODICIL ' ' WHICH IS LIKELY TO BE USED AS EVIDENCE IN AN ACTION RELATING TO A HUSBAND ' S MANAGEMENT OF HIS WIFE ' S SEPARATE PROPERTY SHOULD BE EXCLUDED FROM THE SCOPE OF THE CONVENTION IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE SECOND PARAGRAPH OF ARTICLE 1 THEREOF BECAUSE IT IS RELATED TO EITHER ' ' WILLS AND SUCCESSION ' ' OR ' ' RIGHTS IN PROPERTY ARISING OUT OF A MATRIMONIAL RELATIONSHIP ' ' .

5 THE SECOND QUESTION , RELATING TO ' ' RIGHTS IN PROPERTY ARISING OUT OF A MATRIMONIAL RELATIONSHIP ' ' WITHIN THE MEANING OF ARTICLE 1 OF THE CONVENTION , SHOULD BE EXAMINED FIRST .

6 AS THE COURT HELD IN ITS JUDGMENT OF 27 MARCH 1979 IN CASE 143/78 DE CAVEL ( 1979 ) ECR 1055 THAT TERM INCLUDES NOT ONLY PROPERTY ARRANGEMENTS SPECIFICALLY AND EXCLUSIVELY ENVISAGED BY CERTAIN NATIONAL LEGAL SYSTEMS IN THE CASE OF MARRIAGE BUT ALSO ANY PROPRIETARY RELATIONSHIPS RESULTING DIRECTLY FROM THE MATRIMONIAL RELATIONSHIP OR THE DISSOLUTION THEREOF .

7 BY ITS VERY WORDING THE SECOND QUESTION HAS IN VIEW A CASE IN WHICH THE MANAGEMENT OF THE WIFE ' S PROPERTY IN QUESTION MUST BE CONSIDERED AS BEING CLOSELY CONNECTED WITH THE PROPRIETARY RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE SPOUSES FLOWING DIRECTLY FROM THEIR MARRIAGE BOND .

8 THEREFORE AN APPLICATION FOR PROVISIONAL MEASURES TO SECURE THE DELIVERY UP OF A DOCUMENT IN ORDER TO PREVENT THE STATEMENTS WHICH IT CONTAINS FROM BEING USED AS EVIDENCE IN AN ACTION CONCERNING THE MANAGEMENT OF THE WIFE ' S PROPERTY MUST ALSO BE CONSIDERED TO BE CONNECTED WITH RIGHTS IN PROPERTY ARISING OUT OF A MATRIMONIAL RELATIONSHIP WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE CONVENTION BECAUSE OF ITS ANCILLARY NATURE .

9 THEREFORE THE ANSWER TO THE SECOND QUESTION MUST BE THAT AN APPLICATION FOR PROVISIONAL MEASURES TO SECURE THE DELIVERY UP OF A DOCUMENT IN ORDER TO PREVENT IT FROM BEING USED AS EVIDENCE IN AN ACTION CONCERNING A HUSBAND ' S MANAGEMENT OF HIS WIFE ' S PROPERTY DOES NOT FALL WITHIN THE SCOPE OF THE CONVENTION IF SUCH MANAGEMENT IS CLOSELY CONNECTED WITH THE PROPRIETARY RELATIONSHIP RESULTING DIRECTLY FROM THE MARRIAGE BOND .

10 IN VIEW OF THAT ANSWER THERE IS NO NEED TO REPLY TO THE FIRST QUESTION .

THE THIRD QUESTION

11 THE FOREGOING CONCLUSION IS NOT AFFECTED BY ARTICLE 24 OF THE CONVENTION WHICH STATES THAT : ' ' APPLICATION MAY BE MADE TO THE COURTS OF A CONTRACTING STATE FOR SUCH PROVISIONAL , INCLUDING PROTECTIVE , MEASURES AS MAY BE AVAILABLE UNDER THE LAW OF THAT STATE , EVEN IF , UNDER THIS CONVENTION , THE COURTS OF ANOTHER CONTRACTING STATE HAVE JURISDICTION AS TO THE SUBSTANCE OF THE MATTER ' ' .

12 THAT PROVISION IN FACT HAS IN VIEW CASES IN WHICH PROVISIONAL MEASURES ARE ORDERED IN A CONTRACTING STATE WHERE ' ' UNDER THIS CONVENTION ' ' A COURT OF ANOTHER CONTRACTING STATE HAS JURISDICTION AS TO THE SUBSTANCE OF THE MATTER . THEREFORE IT MAY NOT BE RELIED ON TO BRING WITHIN THE SCOPE OF THE CONVENTION PROVISIONAL OR PROTECTIVE MEASURES RELATING TO MATTERS WHICH ARE EXCLUDED FROM IT . THAT IS HOW THE THIRD QUESTION MUST BE ANSWERED .

THE FOURTH QUESTION

13 AS TO THE FOURTH QUESTION , IT SUFFICES TO RECALL THAT IN ITS JUDGMENTS OF 24 JUNE 1981 IN CASE 150/80 ELEFANTEN SCHUH GMBH ( 1981 ) ECR 1671 AND OF 22 OCTOBER 1981 IN CASE 27/81 ROHR ( 1981 ) ECR 2431 THE COURT HELD THAT ARTICLE 18 OF THE CONVENTION MUST BE INTERPRETED AS MEANING THAT IT ALLOWS THE DEFENDANT NOT ONLY TO CONTEST THE JURISDICTION BUT TO SUBMIT AT THE SAME TIME IN THE ALTERNATIVE A DEFENCE ON THE SUBSTANCE OF THE ACTION WITHOUT HOWEVER LOSING HIS RIGHT TO RAISE AN OBJECTION OF LACK OF JURISDICTION .

Decision on costs


COSTS

14 THE COSTS INCURRED BY THE GOVERNMENT OF THE ITALIAN REPUBLIC AND THE COMMISSION OF THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES WHICH HAVE SUBMITTED OBSERVATIONS TO THE COURT ARE NOT RECOVERABLE . AS THESE PROCEEDINGS ARE , IN SO FAR AS THE PARTIES TO THE MAIN ACTION ARE CONCERNED , IN THE NATURE OF A STEP IN THE ACTION PENDING BEFORE THE NATIONAL COURT , THE DECISION ON COSTS IS A MATTER FOR THAT COURT .

Operative part


ON THOSE GROUNDS ,

THE COURT ,

IN ANSWER TO THE QUESTION SUBMITTED TO IT BY THE HOGE RAAD DER NEDERLANDEN BY JUDGMENT OF 6 FEBRUARY 1981 , HEREBY RULES :

1 . AN APPLICATION FOR PROVISIONAL MEASURES TO SECURE THE DELIVERY UP OF A DOCUMENT IN ORDER TO PREVENT IT FROM BEING USED AS EVIDENCE IN AN ACTION CONCERNING A HUSBAND ' S MANAGEMENT OF HIS WIFE ' S PROPERTY DOES NOT FALL WITHIN THE SCOPE OF THE CONVENTION OF 27 SEPTEMBER 1968 ON JURISDICTION AND THE ENFORCEMENT OF JUDGMENTS IN CIVIL AND COMMERCIAL MATTERS IF SUCH MANAGEMENT IS CLOSELY CONNECTED WITH THE PROPRIETARY RELATIONSHIP RESULTING DIRECTLY FROM THE MARRIAGE BOND .

2.ARTICLE 24 OF THE CONVENTION ON JURISDICTION AND THE ENFORCEMENT OF JUDGMENTS IN CIVIL AND COMMERCIAL MATTERS MAY NOT BE RELIED ON TO BRING WITHIN THE SCOPE OF THE CONVENTION PROVISIONAL OR PROTECTIVE MEASURES RELATING TO MATTERS WHICH ARE EXCLUDED FROM IT .

3.ARTICLE 18 OF THE CONVENTION OF 27 SEPTEMBER 1968 ON JURISDICTION AND THE ENFORCEMENT OF JUDGMENTS IN CIVIL AND COMMERCIAL MATTERS MUST BE INTERPRETED AS MEANING THAT IT ALLOWS THE DEFENDANT NOT ONLY TO CONTEST THE JURISDICTION BUT TO SUBMIT AT THE SAME TIME IN THE ALTERNATIVE A DEFENCE ON THE SUBSTANCE OF THE ACTION WITHOUT HOWEVER LOSING THE RIGHT TO RAISE AN OBJECTION OF LACK OF JURISDICTION .

Top