McEleavy, Peter


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Personal profile


 A barrister and leading expert on family aspects of private international law, Peter McEleavy’s research has been relied upon by leading courts globally, and in recent years has regularly been cited in proceedings of the Court of Justice of the European Union.  Peter is regularly called upon to advise on contentious aspects of law reform: the Europeanisation of child abduction rules (Lord Chancellor's Department, 2002); the implementation of the 1996 Hague Convention on the Protection of Children (Ministry of Justice, 2009/10, 2012); and the introduction of same-sex marriage (States of Guernsey, 2015).  Since 2009 he has been a member of the team of editors of the leading private international law text: Dicey, Morris & Collins on the Conflict of Laws.  In 2015 he joined the European Group for Private International Law.

Peter took up his chair in international family law in February 2006. Before joining Dundee Law School he had been at the University of Aberdeen for 5 years, first as a lecturer and then senior lecturer, and had previously lectured at the London School of Economics and the University of Angers, in France.

Peter was called to the bars of England & Wales and Northern Ireland in 1999.  He is a tenant at 1 Garden Court, one of the foremost family law barristers’ chambers in London.  In 2012 he gave evidence to the Irish High Court and advised the Irish Health Service Executive on the operation of the Brussels IIa Regulation in litigation which culminated in an urgent preliminary ruling application to the Court of Justice of the European Union: Case C-92/12 PPU Heath Service Executive v SC [2012] 2 F.L.R. 1040.

Peter lectures widely on family aspects of private international law and has regularly been involved in judicial training, most notably for the TAIEX Office of the European Commission.  Until 2014 he advised the Hague Conference on Private International Law on its database of child abduction case law: Incadat.

Since 2010 Peter has acted as Assessor in International Private Law to the Faculty of Advocates in Edinburgh.  He has been a visiting professor at the University of Kobe, Japan, since 2006.




Comparative Scots & English Family Law;      

Private International Law.


Private International Law (Common Law Perspectives);

International Family Law.


Peter offers postgraduate supervision in the field of private international law, in particular family law aspects.



 Peter’s research on international family law is anchored on his contributions to the leading Scottish and English texts in the field of private international law.

Since 2009 he has been a member of the team of editors of Dicey, Morris & Collins on the Conflict of Laws. He is responsible for chapters 6 (Domicile & Residence), 19 (Children), 20 (Legitimacy, Legitimation and Adoption) & 21 (Mental Incapacity) of the 15th edition which was published in 2012.  He is co-author, with Paul Beaumont, of the 3rd edition of Anton's Private International Law, (SULI, W. Green, 2011).  He is responsible for chapters 3, 4, 5, 7, 11, 14 (non-Rome II rules only), 15 - 20.

 Peter doctoral thesis, a comparative analysis of the 1980 Hague Convention was published as an Oxford University Press monograph: The Hague Convention on International Child Abduction, 1999, (with P. Beaumont). This text was recognised by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in the key judgment Mozes v. Mozes, 239 F.3d 1067 (2001) as 'the leading treatise on the Convention'.  It has been cited and relied upon by leading courts across the globe, including the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom: Re E. (Children) (Abduction: Custody Appeal) [2011] UKSC 27, [2012] 1 A.C. 144.  He is currently working on the 2nd edition (with Aude Fiorini).

 Peter McEleavy has written extensively on European family law developments, evaluating the merits of the European Union's involvement in this area, the law making process and subjecting initiatives and instruments to detailed analysis.  He has a particular interest in connecting factors, especially the challenges presented by the concept of habitual residence.

 Peter’s 2005 article on the Europeanisation of legal responses to cases of child abduction - "The New Child Abduction Regime in the European Community: Symbiotic Relationship or Forced Partnership?" (2005) Journal of Private International Law 5 - 34, has been cited regularly by Advocates General in cases before the Court of Justice of the European Union:


(Case C‑498/14 PPU) Bradbrooke v Aleksandrowicz, Jääskinen A.G., at [51]

(Case C-376/14 PPU) C v M [2015] I.L.Pr. 455, Szpunar , A.G. at [46],

Opinion 1/13 Re International Child Abduction Convention [2015] 1 C.M.L.R. 880,  Jääskinen A.G. at [85], [89],

(Case C‑400/10 PPU) J. McB. v. L. E.,[2011] I.L.Pr. 24, Jääskinen A.G., [41].


Other research cited includes:


‘Article 48’ in European Commentaries on Private International Law. Brussels II bis Regulation in P Mankowski & U Magnus (eds.), Sellier, München, 2012, pp. 387 – 413.), in

(Case C-4/14) Bohez v Wiertz [2015] I.L.Pr. 757, Szpunar , A.G.  at [77], [78];

 Anton’s Private International Law, 3rd ed. SULI, W. Green, 2011, 17.100, in

 (Case C-376/14 PPU) C v M [2015] I.L.Pr. 455, Szpunar , A.G. at [50].

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, The Hague Convention on International Child Abduction, University of Aberdeen

Award Date: 1 Jan 1998


  • K Law (General)
  • Private International Law
  • Conflict of Laws
  • International Family Law
  • International Divorce
  • Domicile
  • Habitual Residence
  • International Child Abduction