The Uniform Law Commission (ULC) has approved legislation urging U.S. law enforcement and courts to recognize Canadian domestic violence protection orders. Dean Suzanne Reynolds (JD ’77), who was appointed to the ULC by former North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue, was the reporter of the statute’s drafting committee.
Today’s move comes four years after the Uniform Law Conference of Canada adopted the Enforcement of Canadian Judgments and Decrees Amendment Act (ECJDAA), which provides for the recognition of foreign protection orders.
“We hope this act, which grants a kind of reciprocity for Canadian orders, will usher in a broader recognition of the protection orders of other countries,” Reynolds said of the drafting committee’s legislation.
The Drafting Committee began its work with the benefit of years of significant work on cross-jurisdiction recognition of domestic violence protection orders, according to a committee memo. In 1994, Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which requires states to give full faith and credit to the protection orders of sister states as long as the orders were issued consistently with VAWA’s provisions. In responding to this mandate in 2002, the Conference adopted the Uniform Interstate Enforcement of Domestic-Violence Protection Orders Act (IEDVPOA), facilitating interstate recognition and enforcement of the domestic violence orders of other states. The uniform act has been adopted in 20 jurisdictions, and other states have enacted legislation that parallels the uniform act.
“Reflecting the friendship between the United States and Canada, our hope is that all states will eventually adopt the Uniform Recognition and Enforcement of Canadian Protection Orders on Domestic Violence Act,” Reynolds says. “Of course, the act is especially important for states along the Canadian border.”
The memo states that while the Joint Editorial Board on Uniform Family Law initially recommended an act on the recognition and enforcement of all foreign domestic violence protection orders, the final charge from Scope and Program was to facilitate recognition of Canadian orders only. The rationale for the narrowing of the scope of the Conference’s project was that the Conference did not want to interfere with the ongoing project of the Hague Conference on Private International Law, which is studying the possibility of a convention on universal inter-country recognition of domestic violence orders. In the meantime, in light of the Canadian recognition of protection orders from the United States, the Conference asked this committee to draft an act narrowly recognizing only Canadian orders in this country.
The passage of the Act was part of this week’s agenda at the UCL 2015 Annual Meeting in Williamsburg, Virginia. As the reporter for act, Reynolds assisted in presenting the act to the
conference. At the annual meeting, Reynolds also accepted a position on the Joint Editorial Board for Uniform Family Law, which will make recommendations on future uniform acts on topics related to family law.
The ULC, now in its 124th year, comprises more than 350 practicing lawyers, governmental lawyers, judges, law professors, and lawyer-legislators from every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Commissioners are appointed by their states to draft and promote enactment of uniform laws that are designed to solve problems common to all the states.
After receiving the ULC’s seal of approval, a uniform act is officially promulgated for consideration by the states, and legislatures are urged to adopt it. Since its inception in 1892, the ULC has been responsible for more than 200 acts, among them such bulwarks of state statutory law as the Uniform Commercial Code, the Uniform Probate Code, the Uniform Partnership Act, and the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act.
Six new uniform acts or amendments, including the Uniform Recognition and Enforcement of Canadian Protection Orders on Domestic Violence Act, were scheduled for completion at this summer’s annual meeting. The current drafts of all of the acts can be found at the ULC’s website at www.uniformlaws.org.