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*PIL Case Law

Published on May 23rd, 2018 | by Olga Papadopoulou

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CJEU C 558/16, Reg. 650/2012, Scope -Ability to include the surviving spouse’s share in the European Certificate of Succession

C‑558/16,

Doris Margret Lisette Mahnkopf other party: Sven Mahnkopf,

JUDGMENT OF THE COURT (Second Chamber) 1 March 2018 (*)

(Reference for a preliminary ruling — Area of freedom, security and justice — Regulation (EU) No 650/2012 — Succession and European Certificate of Succession — Scope — Ability to include the surviving spouse’s share in the European Certificate of Succession)

         In those circumstances, the Kammergericht Berlin (Higher Regional Court, Berlin) decided to stay proceedings and to refer the following questions to the Court of Justice for preliminary ruling:

‘(1)      Is Article 1(1) of [Regulation No 650/2012] to be interpreted as meaning that the scope of the regulation (“succession to the estates of deceased persons”) also covers provisions of national law which, like Paragraph 1371(1) of the [BGB], settle questions relating to matrimonial property regimes after the death of one spouse by increasing the other spouse’s share of the estate on intestacy?

(2)      If the first question is answered in the negative, are Articles 68(l) and 67(1) of [Regulation No 650/2012] in any event to be interpreted as meaning that the share of the surviving spouse may be recorded in full in the European Certificate of Succession even if a portion of it stems from an increase pursuant to a rule governing matrimonial property regimes like Paragraph 1371(1) of the [BGB]?

If this question is to be answered in the negative in principle, can it nevertheless be answered in the affirmative exceptionally for situations where:

(a)      the purpose of the Certificate of Succession is limited to asserting rights of the heirs in a certain other Member State to property of the deceased located there, and

(b)      the ruling on succession (Articles 4 and 21 of [Regulation No 650/2012]) and — irrespective of which conflict-of-law rules are applied — the questions relating to matrimonial property regimes are to be assessed on the basis of the same national legal system?

(3)      If the first and second questions are answered in the negative in their entirety, is Article 68(l) of [Regulation No 650/2012] to be interpreted as meaning that the share of the surviving spouse increased pursuant to a rule of the matrimonial property regime may be recorded in full in the European Certificate of Succession, but for information purposes only on account of the increase?’

On those grounds, the Court (Second Chamber) hereby rules:

Article 1(1) of Regulation (EU) No 650/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 July 2012 on jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition and enforcement of decisions and acceptance and enforcement of authentic instruments in matters of succession and on the creation of a European Certificate of Succession must be interpreted as meaning that a national provision, such as that at issue in the main proceedings, which prescribes, on the death of one of the spouses, a fixed allocation of the accrued gains by increasing the surviving spouse’s share of the estate falls within the scope of that regulation.

 

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