Earlier this week (15 November 2022), the Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice delivered the judgment on the case No C-646/20, Senatsverwaltung für Inneres und Sport, Standesamtsaufsicht v. TB.
The dispute in the main proceeding arises when TB applied to the Civil Registry Office of Berlin-Mitte for an extrajudicial act on divorce to be entered in the Berlin register of marriages. TB and the former spouse obtained a divorce decree drawn up by a civil registrar of a Member State (Italy), containing a divorce agreement concluded by the spouses and confirmed by them before that registrar in accordance with the conditions laid down by the legislation of that Member State. The German authority held that it was possible to register the extrajudicial divorce only after recognition by the competent judicial authority, at the conditions laid down by German national law. After the case was brought before national courts, the referring Court (German Federal Court of Justice – Bundesgerichtshof) asked whether the divorce decree is a divorce within the meaning of Regulation (EC) No 2201/2003, thus automatically recognised in any other Member State.
In the decision, the Court of Justice – underlining the importance of the role of the registrar in issuing the divorce decree (paras 60 and 63-66) and interpreting Brussels II-bis in the light of Regulation (EU) No 2019/1111 (paras 58-60) – stated that Art 2(4) of Regulation No 2201/2003 “must be interpreted, in particular for the purpose of the application of Article 21(1) of that regulation, as meaning that a divorce decree drawn up by a civil registrar of the Member State of origin, containing a divorce agreement concluded by the spouses and confirmed by them before that registrar in accordance with the conditions laid down by the legislation of that Member State, constitutes a ‘judgment’ within the meaning of Article 2(4)”.
On the recognition of foreign divorces, under the Brussels II Regulations, the readers of RDIPP may refer to:
Ilaria Viarengo, 2016, No 3, 701 ff.; Franco Mosconi, Cristina Campiglio, 2017, No 1, 5 ff.
Moreover, see, in our Book Series:
Stefania Bariatti, Carola Ricci (eds.), Book No 70; Stefania Bariatti, Ilaria Viarengo, Francesca C. Villata (eds.), Book No 81.