Family Law in Europe
Family law is a distinctive area of law because it is multi-layered (national, regional and international) and interdisciplinary (transcending private and public law, both domestically and internationally, and religion). Given the increasing mobility of children and families, it is also a topic of increasing relevance. Family Law in Europe will be considered from two perspectives.
First, we discuss and analyse the influence of human rights law, notably the articles 8 and 12 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) on national family law. We will discuss influential cases of the European Court on Human Rights on articles 8, 12 and 14 ECHR and explore relevant European and international instruments including the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989). It will be argued that human rights law sets a minimum standard for family law in Europe. Students will evaluate these minimum standards with reference to a comparative assessment of the differences between domestic legal systems of family law of the Member States of the European Union.
Private international law is the area of law that may bridge the national differences in substantive family law. The second perspective of this course is thus the rules on private international law in family matters. Particular attention will be given to the processes of harmonisation and unification of private international law within the EU and the work of the Hague Conference on Private International Law. The current (and pending) EU private international law instruments and the instruments and work of the Hague Convention on Private International Law are analysed and evaluated.
The following topics will be considered: • gender identity registration; • marriage, civil partnerships and cohabitation; • parent-child relationships; • international adoption; • international surrogacy arrangements; • divorce; • child and spousal maintenance; • international child abduction; • the right of contact between parents and children; • names; • (obstacles to) free movement within the EU; and • (EU) citizenship; • religious (notably Islamic) family laws in a European context.
Students are encouraged to study their domestic legal system.There will be seven tutorials and seven lectures.
Doelstellingen van dit vak
- With reference to contemporary issues in the field of family and child law, the student identifies the context and application of the right to private and family life and the right to marry as defined by the European Court of Human Rights.
- The student identifies and evaluates the EU’s competence in the field of family law and private international law, and is able to apply existing (and pending) EU instruments relevant to family law in practice.
- The student is able to analyse the domestic situation of a State as regards the implementation of the ECHR standards and EU law and can express her/his legal assessment in a legal opinion and in an oral presentation. The student is able to apply and distinguish the most recent developments on concrete cases.
- The student evaluates the interaction between the work of the EU, the Council of Europe and the Hague Conference on Private International law in the field of family and child law, including the ways in which these systems co-exist, overlap and may influence each other.
- The student recommends the direction that the EU’s, the Council of Europe’s and the Hague Conference on Private International law’s future work in the field of family law might or should take.
A basic knowledge of domestic rules on family law as well as knowledge of the concepts of private international law is required in order to be able to discuss the topics in depth.