Enforcement in EU Member States
Produced in partnership with David Salter of Mills & Reeve
Enforcement in EU Member States

The following Family guidance note Produced in partnership with David Salter of Mills & Reeve provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Enforcement in EU Member States
  • Background
  • What is maintenance?
  • Applications
  • Procedure on application for enforcement of maintenance decision in another Member State
  • Outgoing procedure
  • Incoming procedure
  • Central authorities
  • Maintenance Enforcement Business Centres—EU Member States
  • Transitional provisions
  • more

This Practice Note is impacted by the exit of the UK from the EU on 31 January 2020. This has implications, inter alia, for practitioners considering which courts have jurisdiction and as to the methods of enforcement available. For guidance, see Practice Note: Brexit and family law. This Practice Note sets out the current position on enforcement in EU Member States.


Council Regulation (EC) No 4/2009 on jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition and enforcement of decisions and cooperation in matters relating to maintenance obligations (the EU Maintenance Regulation) is now directly effective in English law and in all other EU Member States. The aim of the EU Maintenance Regulation is to remove the danger of parallel proceedings between Member States and ensure maintenance claimants can obtain an order in one state that is directly enforceable in another Member State without the need for additional formalities. The underlying purpose is to promote the free movement of persons within the EU. Homogenisation has been achieved to an extent, but different procedures still apply to those states that are not bound by the Protocol of 23 November 2007 on the Law Applicable to Maintenance Obligations (2007 Hague Protocol) (ie the UK and Denmark) as apply to the rest of the EU Member States. The Convention of 23 November 2007 on the International Recovery

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