Court Rejects Bad-Faith Forum Shopping: Russian Parents Living Abroad Are the Winners

UPDATE: JUNE 2012 . The St. Petersburg Court of Appeals (City Court) overturned the ruling of the court of first instance. The Court ordered the case could proceed in Russia until there is a final ruling in the Italian court case in which Grin continues to participate. The order relies on a January 2012 decision of the same appellate court, stating that interim orders of the Italian court cannot be enforced in Russia under a treaty with Italy, only the final decision.

UPDATE:  JANUARY 2013.  The St. Petersburg Court of Appeals, ignoring its prior rulings on the same subject, ruled that the final decision of the Italian court (rendered in September 2012) cannot be enforced in Russia under the country’s treaty with Italy. The court cited the children’s Russian citizenship and unspecified conflicts with Russian law, essentially ruling that foreign decisions cannot be enforced in Russia even when the Russian party voluntarily submits to the jurisdiction of the foreign court and continues to participate in identical proceedings in both countries. 

As the Tashalaw blog explains, there may be at heart nationalistic or at least Russian interests behind the decision rejecting Grin’s attempt to forum shop by litigating the same issues in two different courts.

“International abduction cases are relatively rare, as they involve illegal conduct of the abducting parent. Thus, for every foreign parent who is unable to secure the return of a child because of the nationalistic reputation of Russian courts, there are many more law-abiding Russians who are divorcing in foreign countries and who suffer as a consequence.

Tashalaw, Nationalism and International Child Abduction: Russian Court Rejects Forum Shopping, “Given the absence of an effective means to secure the return, foreign courts will often prevent Russian parents from taking a child to visit their grandparents. Thus, the Grin decision actually helps Russian parents living abroad, as they may cite it as evidence that a foreign decree regarding children will be honoured.”

See also Dmitry Litvinski, Competing Jurisdictions, St Petersburg court recognizes priority of Italian proceedings, private international law in action, Коллизия юрисдикций: Петербургский суд признал приоритет итальянского коллеги. Международное частное право в действии


One response to “Court Rejects Bad-Faith Forum Shopping: Russian Parents Living Abroad Are the Winners

  1. This is a surprising but necessary decision by Russian courts. Russia is not behind the iron curtain any more, it is a world power linked closely with the EU. It is decisions like this that prove Russia is aligning itself to international rules of law and international treaties. This is a visible first step and I applaud the judge in this case for deciding on what is right on an international level and not what is nationalist.

    I also do hope that the children will be returned to their home in Italy soon and that The Hague Convention begins to be applied in Russia for all abducted children.

    Lovely Blog!

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