From 29 October to 1 November 2019, the Hague Experts’ Group on Parentage / Surrogacy met for the sixth time. The meeting focused on proposing provisions for developing both a general private international law instrument on the recognition of foreign judicial decisions on legal parentage; and a separate protocol on the recognition of foreign judicial decisions on legal parentage rendered as a result of an international surrogacy arrangement. The feasibility of making provisions in relation to applicable law rules and public documents was also considered.

Extract of the report of the meeting in relation to a draft convention:

“Recognition of foreign judgments on legal parentage by operation of law

10. The Group agreed that the recognition regime should occur by operation of law and be subject to the satisfaction of certain indirect grounds of jurisdiction in the State where the judgment was issued.

a. Indirect grounds of jurisdiction

11. The Group agreed on the need to limit the grounds for indirect jurisdiction to ensure that there is sufficient proximity between the subject matter and the State of judgment. The Group agreed on the following alternative indirect grounds of jurisdiction that would have to be fulfilled at the time when proceedings were initiated:

(a) the child’s habitual residence, noting the need for another ground in exceptional circumstances based on presence such as for refugee children;

(b) the respondent’s habitual residence, noting that the State might be the respondent in certain jurisdictions.

12. The Group recognised that in certain cases a real and substantial connection could be a very useful ground, provided that further clarification be given as to the application of such a connecting factor.

13. The Group agreed that grounds for indirect jurisdiction relating to party autonomy (i.e., choice of court and submission to the jurisdiction of the court) should not be included in light of the subject matter of the proceedings (legal parentage).

b. Grounds for refusal of recognition

14. The Group discussed possible grounds for refusal of recognition. The Group agreed that the Convention should include the following alternative grounds: (i) a public policy exception, taking into account the best interests of the child; (ii) where the respondent did not have proper notice of the proceedings and an opportunity to be heard; and (iii) where there are inconsistent judgments or parallel proceedings. Experts also agreed that a ground of fraud should be included, but there was discussion as to whether such a ground should go beyond fraud in connection with a matter of procedure. Furthermore, the Group discussed whether providing the child with an opportunity to be heard should be a separate ground”.

The report of the sixth meeting is available here.