The French Supreme Court (Cour de cassation) clarifies the concept of habitual residence

Cour de cassation, Chambre civile 1, 4 mars 2015, 14-19.015, Publié au bulletin

In this case, rules on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in matrimonial matters and the matters of parental responsibility are discussed. Thus, the concept of habitual residence is clarified. A dispute arose between the parents (Mr. X. and Mrs Y.) concerning the establishment of the residence of the child. The appeal court of Limoges (Cour d’appel de Limoges) dismissed the request for the return of the child in Belgium brought by the prosecution. As a result, Mr.X. filed an action before the Supreme Court (Cour de cassation).

The Supreme Court (Cour de cassation) referred to the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union (Case C-523/07, Case C-497/10 PPU, Case C-376/14 PPU) in which the concept of habitual residence must be interpreted as meaning that it corresponds to the place which reflects some degree of integration by the child in a social and family environment. To that end, must be particularly taken into account the intention of the parents or one of them to settle permanently with the child in another Member State, manifested by certain tangible steps such as the purchase or lease of a residence in that Member State. The Supreme Court (Cour de cassation) also referred to Articles 3 and 4 of the Hague Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and Articles 2 (11) and 11, paragraph 1 of Regulation (EC ) 2201/2003.

The Supreme Court (Cour de cassation) considered that the residence of the child must be established, taking account of all the specific circumstances, including the common intention of the parents to transfer this residence as well as the decisions taken for the integration of the child. Thus, the Supreme Court (Cour de cassation) found that the appeal court, by deciding in consideration of the only length of stay of the mother and her daughter, deprived its decision of any legal basis. Consequently, the Supreme Court (Cour de cassatoin) annulled the judgment of the appeal court.

The full text is available on EuroCases

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