Language of document :

Judgment of the Court (Fourth Chamber) of 19 November 2020 (request for a preliminary ruling from the Amtsgericht Heilbronn – Germany) – Criminal proceedings against ZW

(Case C-454/19) 1

(Reference for a preliminary ruling – Citizenship of the Union – Article 21 TFEU – Right to move and reside freely in the territory of the Member States – Criminal offence specifically concerning international child abduction – Restriction – Justification – Child protection – Proportionality)

Language of the case: German

Referring court

Amtsgericht Heilbronn

Party in the main proceedings


Intervener: Staatsanwaltschaft Heilbronn

Operative part of the judgment

Article 21 TFEU must be interpreted as precluding the application of a Member State’s legislation under which the retention by a parent of a child from his appointed carer in another Member State attracts criminal penalties even in the absence of force, threat of serious harm or deception, whereas where such retention takes place in the territory of the first Member State, the same act is punishable only if recourse is had to force, threat of serious harm or deception.


1 OJ C 280, 19.8.2019.