European Journal of Law Reform

Article

International Kafala: A Right for the Child to Enter and Stay in the Member States?

Keywords kafala, adoption, migration, reception, European
Authors Julie Malingreau
Author's information

Julie Malingreau
Julie Malingreau is a PhD candidate at the University of Utrecht, and holds an LLM in European Private Law at the University of Amsterdam, as well as a Master Degree in Law in Belgium. She currently works as a lawyer in Amsterdam, assisting with commercial contracts. Her areas of interest include national/European/International family law, Islamic law, Alternative Dispute Resolutions, private international law, human rights, intellectual property and labour law.
  • Abstract

      Much attention has already been paid to the relationship between European (family) law and law from Muslim majority countries in studies of private international law or of comparative law, often discussing family law institutions such as polygamy or repudiation. Among those institutions, there is one that has largely been neglected: kafala, a form of guardianship that is specific to Islamic law.
      The reception of this institution in the Member States raises several questions, such as its consequences in terms of legal parentage or its conformity with the best interest of the child or with public order. However, this contribution focuses on the migration angle since some difficulties may appear after this particular guardianship was pronounced abroad when the question of the entrance and the stay of the child with their guardians in a Member State arises.
      The research consists of determining whether some EU or international instruments could grant the guardians a right to request that ‘their’ child lives with them in their country and examines whether such a right is always desirable and justifiable. Taking France as an example, the author asks the following question: does not France, as a Member State of the European Union, have to ensure under European law and international obligations that the child and the couple will be able to live together on its territory?

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