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Familjerätt - inte längre en nationell angelägenhet, en studie av harmoniseringssträvandet inom den Europeiska unionen

Engelhardt, Katarina LU (2010) JURM01 20102
Department of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
Runt om i den Europeiska unionen (EU) utnyttjas den fria rörligheten i större utsträckning än tidigare. Företag flyttar över nationsgränserna och med företagen kommer arbetstagarna och deras familjer. Idag sträcker sig allt fler familjeband över nationsgränserna och i och med det har också familjerätten tagit steget från att ha varit nationell till att bli allt mer internationell.

Inom EU finns idag 27 medlemsstater och lika många familjerättsliga regleringar. Samtidigt går utvecklingen framåt och teknik, ett snabbare informationsflöde och ett mer enat Europa gör att länderna ställs inför liknande familjerättsliga frågeställningar vilket, tillsammans med den fria rörligheten, har gjort harmoniseringsbegreppet högaktuellt.

... (More)
Runt om i den Europeiska unionen (EU) utnyttjas den fria rörligheten i större utsträckning än tidigare. Företag flyttar över nationsgränserna och med företagen kommer arbetstagarna och deras familjer. Idag sträcker sig allt fler familjeband över nationsgränserna och i och med det har också familjerätten tagit steget från att ha varit nationell till att bli allt mer internationell.

Inom EU finns idag 27 medlemsstater och lika många familjerättsliga regleringar. Samtidigt går utvecklingen framåt och teknik, ett snabbare informationsflöde och ett mer enat Europa gör att länderna ställs inför liknande familjerättsliga frågeställningar vilket, tillsammans med den fria rörligheten, har gjort harmoniseringsbegreppet högaktuellt.

Harmonisering innebär att rättsregler i olika länder förs närmare varandra vilket kan ske både genom gemensamma internationellt privaträttsliga regler eller genom ett tillnärmade av de materiella rättsreglerna i medlemsstaterna. Familjerätten är på grund av sin nära koppling till ett lands historia, religion, kultur, sociala system och nationella välfärd det rättsområde som ansetts vara minst lämpat för harmonisering. Trots detta har EU stegvis ökat både sitt politiska engagemang och sin lagstiftningskompetens på familjerättens område. I och med Lissabonfördraget skedde en uppmjukning av reglerna som innebär att gemenskapen idag får agera inom familjerätten så snart det anses behövligt för den interna marknadens funktionsduglighet. Tidigare krävdes att åtgärderna var nödvändiga för att gemenskapen skulle ha kompetens att agera. Kvar finns dock kravet på att åtgärder som rör familjerätten skall beslutas med enhällighet vilket visar att familjerätten fortfarande har en särställning inom unionen.

Under de senaste åren har ett aktivt arbete pågått inom EU med att ta fram gemensamma familjerättsliga lagvalsregler vilket bland annat har resulterat i ”förordning (EG) nr 4/2009 om domstols behörighet, tillämplig lag, erkännande och verkställighet av domar samt samarbete i fråga om underhållsskyldighet” som antogs enhälligt av medlemsländerna år 2008. Förordningen trädde i kraft 30 januari år 2009 men kommer huvudsakligen att börja tillämpas år 2011. Regleringen utgör därmed de första gemensamma lagvalsreglerna som utarbetats inom EU på familjerättens område.

Målet har även varit att fatta beslut om gemensamma lagvalsregler beträffande äktenskapsskillnad, något som ett antal medlemsstater, däribland Sverige, har motsatt sig. De strandade förhandlingarna om en ny förordning resulterade år 2010 i det första beslutet i EU:s historia om flexibel integration.

Vid sidan om det familjerättsliga samarbetet inom EU pågår också ett arbete i kommissionen för europeisk familjerätt (CEFL) med att ta fram europeiska familjerättsliga principer för att möjliggöra en harmonisering av den materiella familjerätten i medlemsstaterna. CEFL menar att europeiska instrument endast har möjlighet till framgång om de materiella rättsreglerna i medlemsstaterna är harmoniserade.

Inom ramen för denna uppsats behandlas det harmoniseringssträvande som finns inom EU på familjerättens område, både beträffande internationellt privaträttsliga regler och beträffande en harmoniserad materiell rätt. Den rättsliga grund som den familjerättsliga utvecklingen baseras på samt de argument som finns för och emot harmonisering kommer att presenteras liksom centrala verk och rättsinstrument på området.

I arbetet konstateras att utvecklingen inom EU går mot allt fler gemensamma lagvalsregler vilket kommer att ställa höga krav på Europas jurist- och domarkår. Språket kommer att utgöra ett hinder liksom att mycket av det som finns reglerat i lag kräver tolkning. En harmonisering av olika familjerättsliga begrepp utgör därför enligt mig en grundläggande förutsättning för att det harmoniseringssträvande som finns skall ha möjlighet till framgång. (Less)
Abstract
Within the European Union (EU), the freedom of movement guaranteed in the Treaties has increased significantly the last decade. Companies may move their establishment from one Member State to another and with the companies, the employees and their families follow. An effect of the integration within the European Union is a high level of cross-border family relationships. As a result, family law has become more international than ever.

Within the EU there are currently 27 Member States, each with their own regulations for family matters. Meanwhile, progress in technology, a faster flow of information and a more united Europe means more legislature facing similar challenges regarding family law. All of these issues have made... (More)
Within the European Union (EU), the freedom of movement guaranteed in the Treaties has increased significantly the last decade. Companies may move their establishment from one Member State to another and with the companies, the employees and their families follow. An effect of the integration within the European Union is a high level of cross-border family relationships. As a result, family law has become more international than ever.

Within the EU there are currently 27 Member States, each with their own regulations for family matters. Meanwhile, progress in technology, a faster flow of information and a more united Europe means more legislature facing similar challenges regarding family law. All of these issues have made harmonization a forerunning issue.

Harmonization in international law is the process by which different states adopt the same law. It can be done either through united, private, international law or by a convergence of the substantive law in the Member States. Family law is the area of law considered the least suitable for harmonization because of its close connection to a country's history, religion, culture, social systems and national welfare. Despite this, the EU has progressively increased both its political commitment and its legislative powers concerning family law with cross-border implications. With the Treaty of Lisbon, there was a relaxation of the rules; the Community today can act in family law as soon as it is needed to maintain the internal functioning of the market. The rules previously allowed for only those measures deemed essential to the Community to be enacted. There remains however, the requirement that measures relating to family law have to be decided by unanimity. This shows that family law still has a special status within the Union.

In recent years, active work has been going on within the EU to develop conflict–of-law rules for international family law. This work, inter alia, has resulted in Regulation (EC) No 4 / 2009 on jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition and enforcement of decisions and cooperation in matters relating to maintenance obligation, unanimously adopted in 2008. Regulation No 4 / 2009 went into effect on 30 January 2009, but will be mainly applied in 2011. This regulation represents the first common law rules developed within the EU regarding international family law.

Due to rising numbers of international divorces, the European Commission has also attempted to harmonize the laws of member states in divorce law as well, but a number of Member States, including Sweden, have expressed opposition to it.

In 2010, and for the first time in the EU’s history, the breakdown of negotiations on a new regulation resulted in the European Parliament giving its consent to fourteen member states to use the legislative tool of enhanced cooperation. Besides the European Commission’s attempt to establish conflict-of-law rules, the Commission on European Family Law (CEFL) has as its main objective the creation of European family law principles that are most suitable for the harmonization of substantive family law in the Member States. The CEFL believes that European instruments have the possibility to be successful only if the substantive family law of the Member States is harmonized.

In my essay I describe the harmonization activities within the EU area of family law, both in regards to private international law and to harmonized substantive law. The legal basis for the development of family law is stated and the arguments both for and against harmonization are presented, as well as major works and legal instruments in the field.

In conclusion, the development of international law is moving towards harmonized conflict-of-law rules within the European Union, which will place heavy demands on the Member States legal and judiciary system. The language will be an obstacle in that much of what is regulated by law requires legal interpretation. In my view, a harmonization of the various family law concepts is therefore a fundamental prerequisite for the harmonization effort to succeed. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Engelhardt, Katarina LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
A Study of the Unification and Harmonization of Family Law within the European Union
course
JURM01 20102
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
familjerätt, internationell privaträtt, EU-rätt, private international law, EU law, Family law
language
Swedish
id
1717720
date added to LUP
2010-11-17 14:09:09
date last changed
2010-11-17 14:09:09
@misc{1717720,
  abstract     = {Within the European Union (EU), the freedom of movement guaranteed in the Treaties has increased significantly the last decade. Companies may move their establishment from one Member State to another and with the companies, the employees and their families follow. An effect of the integration within the European Union is a high level of cross-border family relationships. As a result, family law has become more international than ever.

Within the EU there are currently 27 Member States, each with their own regulations for family matters. Meanwhile, progress in technology, a faster flow of information and a more united Europe means more legislature facing similar challenges regarding family law.  All of these issues have made harmonization a forerunning issue. 

Harmonization in international law is the process by which different states adopt the same law. It can be done either through united, private, international law or by a convergence of the substantive law in the Member States. Family law is the area of law considered the least suitable for harmonization because of its close connection to a country's history, religion, culture, social systems and national welfare. Despite this, the EU has progressively increased both its political commitment and its legislative powers concerning family law with cross-border implications. With the Treaty of Lisbon, there was a relaxation of the rules; the Community today can act in family law as soon as it is needed to maintain the internal functioning of the market.  The rules previously allowed for only those measures deemed essential to the Community to be enacted. There remains however, the requirement that measures relating to family law have to be decided by unanimity. This shows that family law still has a special status within the Union.

In recent years, active work has been going on within the EU to develop conflict–of-law rules for international family law. This work, inter alia, has resulted in Regulation (EC) No 4 / 2009 on jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition and enforcement of decisions and cooperation in matters relating to maintenance obligation, unanimously adopted in 2008. Regulation No 4 / 2009 went into effect on 30 January 2009, but will be mainly applied in 2011. This regulation represents the first common law rules developed within the EU regarding international family law.

Due to rising numbers of international divorces, the European Commission has also attempted to harmonize the laws of member states in divorce law as well, but a number of Member States, including Sweden, have expressed opposition to it.

In 2010, and for the first time in the EU’s history, the breakdown of negotiations on a new regulation resulted in the European Parliament giving its consent to fourteen member states to use the legislative tool of enhanced cooperation. Besides the European Commission’s attempt to establish conflict-of-law rules, the Commission on European Family Law (CEFL) has as its main objective the creation of European family law principles that are most suitable for the harmonization of substantive family law in the Member States. The CEFL believes that European instruments have the possibility to be successful only if the substantive family law of the Member States is harmonized.

In my essay I describe the harmonization activities within the EU area of family law, both in regards to private international law and to harmonized substantive law. The legal basis for the development of family law is stated and the arguments both for and against harmonization are presented, as well as major works and legal instruments in the field.

In conclusion, the development of international law is moving towards harmonized conflict-of-law rules within the European Union, which will place heavy demands on the Member States legal and judiciary system. The language will be an obstacle in that much of what is regulated by law requires legal interpretation. In my view, a harmonization of the various family law concepts is therefore a fundamental prerequisite for the harmonization effort to succeed.},
  author       = {Engelhardt, Katarina},
  keyword      = {familjerätt,internationell privaträtt,EU-rätt,private international law,EU law,Family law},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Familjerätt - inte längre en nationell angelägenhet, en studie av harmoniseringssträvandet inom den Europeiska unionen},
  year         = {2010},
}