Protection of Adults in International Situations

In its decision 2017/5 of 6 September 2017, the ELI Council adopted the proposal for this project to be carried out under the regular procedure in line with Article 12(2)(a) of the ELI Statute. Pietro Franzina (University of Ferrara, Italy), and Richard Frimston (Russell-Cooke Solicitors, UK) were appointed as project reporters.

For an overview of past and upcoming meetings of this project, please click here.

ELI Members who are interested in actively contributing to the development of this project are invited to join the Members Consultative Committee (MCC). Kindly contact the ELI Secretariat if you would like to join the MCC of this project or if you have any questions concerning the project.

Quick Facts

Project Type: Instrument 
Procedure: Regular
Adopted: CD 2017/5 (on Projects) 
Project Period: September 2017–December 2019


The ‘adults’ to which this project refers 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. During the time in which they experience this condition, they may need support to exercise their legal capacity. This may occur, for example, prior to a medical treatment, when the consent of the adult must be obtained, or in respect of transactions involving the adult’s assets. Support may be provided in different forms. State authorities may appoint a person (who may be called a guardian, a deputy, an administrator, etc) and charge him with assisting the adult in respect of one or more acts, or in acting on his behalf. As an alternative, it is now provided in several countries that the adult himself can enter into a special kind of mandate and appoint himself an attorney in contemplation of a future loss of autonomy.

Today, due to the increasing mobility of individuals (and their assets), the protection of adults is more and more frequently at issue in international scenarios. The authorities of a State may thus be seised of the protection of an adult who is not a national of that State, or may be asked to supervise a guardian whose duties are to be performed, in part, on the territory of a different country. In these cases, the need arises to identify the State whose authorities have jurisdiction over the matter, the law applicable to the substance of the protection, and the conditions subject to which the measures and other instruments issued in one State to protect the person and property of an adult may effectively be relied upon in another.



Within the course of the project, the team members intend to: (a) address some general and preliminary issues (eg, whether the protection of adults falls within the scope of ‘family law’ for the purposes of Article 81(3) TFEU, what relationship should exist between the Hague Convention and the envisaged EU legislative measure etc), sketch the outline and set forth the key provisions of the envisaged measure (as regards, eg, the proposed European Certificate of Representation, or the possibility, for the adult concerned, to include in his mandate a choice-of-court clause); (b) promote a broad exchange of views on such general outline and key provisions with practitioners and academics; and (c) based on the above, lay down a final and detailed draft text of a possible EU measure on the protection of adults in international situations.



The project seeks to elaborate on the European Parliament resolution’s ‘principles and aims’ with a view to laying down the text of a possible measure to be adopted at EU level. The text will then be brought to the attention of European institutions, the institutions of Member States (and selected third countries) and relevant stakeholders.

In 2018, the project team drew up a Position Paper which can be accessed here. Kindly note that the statements and recommendations contained in the paper have not been approved or endorsed by any statutory body of the ELI and thus should not be taken to represent an official Statement, Instrument or position of the ELI.


Case Studies

For some illustrative examples that the Protection of Adults in International Situations project seeks to tackle, please click here.




Project Reporters

  • Pietro Franzina
  • Richard Frimston

Other Project Team Members

    • Regina Aebi-Mueller
    • Maja Groff
    • Jan von Hein
    • Alex Ruck Keene
    • Thalia Kruger
    • Joëlle Long
    • Jean-Christophe Rega
    • Christian Schall
    • Renate Schaub
    • Fumie Suga
    • Frederik Swennen
    • Adrian D Ward

    Advisory Committee Members

    • Elena Bargelli (Assessor)
    • Stefania Bariatti
    • Ulf Bergquist
    • Robert Bray (Assessor)
    • Louise Ellen Teitz
    • Sjef van Erp (Assessor)
    • Volker Lipp
    • Corrado Malberti
    • Alberto Muñoz Fernández
    • Bea Verschraegen

    Members Consultative Committee

    • Małgorzata Balwicka-Szczyrba
    • Robert Bray
    • Danguolė Bublienė
    • Gregor Christandl
    • Cecilia Gómez-Salvago Sánchez
    • Florian Heindler
    • Stéphanie Laulhé Shaelou 
    • Monica Navarro-Michel
    • Ioana Olaru
    • Valentin Rétornaz (Chair)
    • Albert Maria Rosario (Charo)


    • Council of the European Union (Alain Pilette)
    • European Commission (Patrizia de Luca)
    • European Parliament (Joëlle Bergeron)
    • Permanent Bureau of the Hague Conference on Private International Law (Philippe Lortie)
    • Private International Law Unit of the Swiss Federal Department of Justice (Joëlle Schickel-Küng)