New ELI Report on Protection of Adults in International Situations


We are pleased to report that the final results of the ELI Protection of Adults in International Situations project were approved by the ELI Council on 20 February and ELI Membership on 21 March 2020.

ELI would like to express its gratitude to Project Reporters Pietro Franzina and Richard Frimston, who executed the project in such an exemplary manner. Sincere thanks also go to Project Team members, Advisors, Assessors, Members Consultative Committee members, Observers and all others for their reliable support and valuable input.

The adults referred to are persons aged 18 or more who are not in a position to protect their interests due to an impairment or insufficiency of their personal faculties. They might be subject to such an impairment or insufficiency from birth or a very young age, victims of accidents or failed medical interventions or older persons gradually losing their autonomy. The protection of their personal welfare and/or property through supporting the exercise of their legal capacity is of particular importance in the light of the ever-increasing mobility of EU citizens and their assets[1] as well as the EU’s changing demographic picture.[2] For an illustration, in Europe, there are about 10 million people with dementia, who might need such protection, and their number is expected to double in the next 10 years.[3] The lack of uniform rules of private international law in the field is likely to, among other things, undermine the effectiveness of the protection provided to adults in cross-border cases and adversely affect their rights to free movement in the internal market, thereby resulting in discrimination. Issues connected to their protection have also been recently adjudicated in European courts, for example, in the Netherlands and United Kingdom.

The ELI project began in 2017, under the leadership of Pietro Franzina and Richard Frimston, and was successfully approved by ELI’s Membership in March 2020. The Report encourages the European Union to consider both external action and the enactment of legislation in the field of protection of adults.  It provides analysis on the protection of adults in international situations. Where appropriate, it includes proposals regarding such protection as well as further issues surrounding the application of the Hague Convention of 13 January 2000 on the International Protection of Adults. It addresses the following issues: (a) the bases and scope of the Union’s competences as regards the protection of adults in international situations; (b) the strategies that the Union should consider following in order to enhance the protection of adults in the relations between Member States; and (c) further improvements that the Union may promote with respect to the Hague Convention of 13 January 2000 on the International Protection of Adults without making use of its external competence or its legislative powers. Finally, the Report sets forth a checklist to encourage the development of private mandates within the ambit of the substantive laws of the Member States.

The Report has been already presented to members of the European Parliament and brought to the attention of national authorities and relevant stakeholders, and strides will continue to be taken in this regard.

The Report on Protection of Adults in International Situations is available here.