Sunday, October 16, 2016

European Court Rules On Jurisdiction In Annulment Action By Third Party

Last week, the Court of Justice of the European Union issued an interpretation of European Council regulations on judicial cooperation in civil matters in the context of an extremely unusual annulment action.  Edyta Mikołajczyk (EM) is heir to the estate of Zdzisława Czarnecka (ZC), first wife of Stefan Czarnecki (SC).  SC died apparently in 2012. ZC died in 1999.  SC had remarried in 1956, to Marie Louise Czarnecka (MLC). In a suit in Poland, EM brought an action to annul SC's second marriage to MLC, claiming that SC's first marriage to ZC had not been dissolved at the time of his marriage to MLC.  If successful, this would presumably mean that EM stands to inherit a larger portion of SC's estate than otherwise.  In Mikołajczyk v. Czarnecka, (CJEU, Oct. 13, 2016), the Court of Justice held that its regulation on recognition and enforcement of judgments in matrimonial matters applies to an action for annulment of marriage brought by a third party following the death of one of the spouses.  However, the Court of Justice went on to hold that under the jurisdictional provisions of the regulation, the annulment action should have been brought in France, where SC and MLC had lived, and not in Poland where EM resides. Law & Religion UK has more on the decision.