Mutual trust through the looking glass: The protection of children’s fundamental rights in EU return proceedings


  • Silvia Bartolini Université Saint Louis Bruxelles



Area of freedom, security and justice, Brussels IIa bis, mutual trust, best interests of the child, EU fundamental rights, Área de libertad, seguridad y justicia, Bruselas IIa bis, confianza mutua, interés superior del menor, derechos fundamentales de la UE


The principle of mutual trust underpins EU proceedings for the return of the child following abduction. On such a basis, the courts of the Member State of refuge shall trust the courts of the Member State where the child was habitually resident immediately before the abduction being willing and capable to protect the EU fundamental rights of the child concerned. Therefore, they should not refrain from enforcing a certified judgment requiring the immediate return of the child, even in situations where there is a clear risk that the return is contrary to that child’s best interests. The purpose of this article is to demonstrate that there is a necessity – in the field of EU proceedings for the return of the child following abduction – to move beyond absolute trust, in order to ensure adequate protection of the children concerned.

El principio de confianza mutua sustenta los procedimientos de la UE para la restitución del menor tras la sustracción. Sobre esta base, los órganos jurisdiccionales del Estado miembro de refugio deben confiar en que los órganos jurisdiccionales del Estado miembro en el que el menor tenía su residencia habitual inmediatamente antes de la sustracción están dispuestos y son capaces de proteger los derechos fundamentales de la UE del menor en cuestión. Por lo tanto, no deben abstenerse de ejecutar una resolución certificada que exija la restitución inmediata del menor, incluso en situaciones en las que exista un riesgo claro de que la restitución sea contraria al interés superior de ese menor. El objetivo de este artículo es demostrar que es necesario –en el ámbito de los procedimientos de la UE para la restitución del menor tras una sustracción– ir más allá de la confianza absoluta, con el fin de garantizar una protección adecuada de los menores afectados.


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Author Biography

Silvia Bartolini, Université Saint Louis Bruxelles

Dr Silvia Bartolini, Research Associate Université Saint Louis Bruxelles


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How to Cite

Bartolini, S. (2024) “Mutual trust through the looking glass: The protection of children’s fundamental rights in EU return proceedings”, Oñati Socio-Legal Series, 14(1), pp. 230–256. doi: 10.35295/osls.iisl/0000-0000-0000-1349.