STEP experts at European Parliamentary Hearing on protection of vulnerable adults

elderly man and younger carer
STEP expert speakers attended the European Parliamentary Hearing titled ‘The protection of vulnerable adults: a cross border perspective’ on 14 March in Brussels.

The Hearing was focused on the issue of protecting vulnerable adults across Member States (MS). Each MS has its own legal system in place in order to safeguard its senior citizens, however, with an increasing number of citizens moving to or visiting other MS, it is becoming difficult to ensure their protection.

The Public Hearing consisted of presentations by expert speakers, namely, Domenico Damascelli (Italy), Jean-Christophe Rega (France), STEP member Anneke Vrenegoor (Netherlands), Chairman of the STEP EU committee Richard Frimston TEP (UK) and Philippe Lortie (First Secretary of the Hague Conference on Private International Law).

MEP Bergeron was in support of an EU Regulation to oblige more MS to ratify the Hague Convention (HC) as well as modifying certain aspects of the HC. Whereas, Patrizia De Luca representing the Commission felt that imposing EU legislation would be premature.

There was also a difference of opinion over whether the issue was one of family law or of property law. If the issue is one of family law then unanimity is required which would make the adoption of an EU Regulation far more difficult to accomplish. However, the expert speakers unanimously agreed that it was a matter of property law, which affects families, but is not a family law matter.

This topical matter regarding potential EU legislation across MS is ongoing and STEP will be attending future meetings as it progresses.

STEP experts, Richard Frimston TEP and Kathleen Cunningham TEP will also be presenting a session on vulnerable adults, and the global legal approaches being adopted, at the STEP Global Congress in Amsterdam on 30 June – 1 July 2016. Register before 29 April to save up to EUR355.


Emily Deane TEP, STEP Technical Counsel

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