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European Journal of Law Reform

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Issue 2, 2015 Expand all abstracts
Article

Introduction

Authors Professor Dr. Katharina Boele-Woelki

Professor Dr. Katharina Boele-Woelki
Article

Legal Motherhood and Parental Responsibility

A Comparative Study on the Tensions between Scientific Knowledge, Social Reality and Personal Identity

Keywords motherhood, child’s right to identity, baby-box, secret birth, confidential birth
Authors Prof. dr. Christine Budzikiewicz and Dr. Machteld Vonk
AbstractAuthor's information

    For the past 15 to 20 years there has been intense discussion in many European countries how mothers in a crisis situation can be prevented from abandoning or even killing their new born babies. Baby-boxes have been installed in a number of countries and/or possibilities for anonymous birth have been discussed or introduced. The Committee on the Rights of the Child expressed concern over these developments and stated that both developments infringe on the child’s right to know its origins. Both Germany and the Netherlands have taken steps to protect new mothers and their babies in crisis situations by introducing a form of secrecy surrounding the mother’s identity. In Germany this has taken the form of a recently introduced law that keeps the birth and the identity of the mother confidential, in the Netherlands this has taken the form of a protocol drawn up by professionals which aims to keep the birth and the mother’s identity secret. This article will compare and critically discuss these developments in Germany and the Netherlands.


Prof. dr. Christine Budzikiewicz
Prof. dr. Christine Budzikiewicz is professor of law at the Institute of Comparative Law of Marburg University in Germany, <www.uni-marburg.de/fb01/lehrstuehle/zivilrecht/budzikiewicz>.

Dr. Machteld Vonk
Dr. Machteld Vonk is assistant professor of child and family law at the Child Law Department of Leiden University Law School in The Netherlands, <http://law.leiden.edu/organisation/private-law/child-law/staff/mjvonk.html>.
Article

The Incorporation of Intentional Parentage by Female Same-Sex Couples into National Parentage Laws

A Comparison between Danish and Dutch Law

Keywords same-sex parentage, family law, comparative law
Authors professor Christina G. Jeppesen de Boer and professor Annette Kronborg
AbstractAuthor's information

    The incorporation of intentional parentage by female same-sex couples in Danish and Dutch law in 2013 has taken place on the premises of the existing parentage law. In Dutch law, the second mother may automatically become the legal parent (formal relationship – anonymous donor) or she may become the legal parent in all other situations by recognition with consent of the mother. In Danish law, the second mother’s parentage may be established in a simple registration procedure, if she has consented to the act of assisted reproduction prior to treatment. When use has been made of a known donor there is no direct presumption favouring the known donor or the second mother in either country. Danish law provides a contractual understanding to be made prior to treatment while Dutch law depends upon the initiative of the parties and to whom the mother gives consent to recognition – with subsequent discretionary power of the court to modify the result. The main difference we associate with a systemized specific legislative approach (Denmark) and discretionary powers of the court to correct the outcome (the Netherlands).


professor Christina G. Jeppesen de Boer
C.G. Jeppesen de Boer is a legal researcher and assistant professor at the University of Utrecht, Molengraaff Institute for Private Law associated with UCERF (Utrecht Centre for European Research into Family Law).

professor Annette Kronborg
A. Kronborg is a legal researcher and associate professor at the University of Copenhagen associated with the Centre for Studies in Legal Culture.
Article

Pursuing the Best Interest of Children in Non-Traditional Families

A Comparative Overview

Keywords best interest of the child, equality, non-traditional families, new bills, comparative analysis
Authors Denise Amram
AbstractAuthor's information

    The need to build a legal paradigm corresponding to the current evolution of society is one of the most important challenges that family lawyers are facing in the last years. In this regard, this paper illustrates the new Italian, French, and Irish reforms aimed at pursuing the best interest of the child within non-traditional families.


Denise Amram
Postdoc researcher in Comparative Private Law, DIRPOLIS Department – Scuola Superiore di Studi Universitari e Perfezionamento Sant’Anna – Pisa, Italy and Italian Qualified Solicitor.
Article

To Recognize or Not to Recognize? That Is the Question!

Motherhood in Cross-Border Surrogacy Cases

Keywords cross-border surrogacy, motherhood, private international law, ordre public, European Human Right Convention
Authors Stefanie Sucker PhD
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article describes the status quo in cross-border surrogacy cases, more specifically how national courts deal with the recognition of parenthood validly established abroad. As the recognition of motherhood is deemed to violate the national ordre public, the solutions so far, i.e. recognition of fatherhood and adoption, will be examined. Moreover, the arguments for an alleged ordre public-violation concerning motherhood will be presented. Finally, the question whether the European Human Right Convention has an impact on the interpretation of the best interest of the child will be answered.


Stefanie Sucker PhD
The author is currently writing a (German) PhD on the topic of cross-border surrogacy. She analyses private international and procedural law questions of German, Dutch, French and Austrian law. Thus, reference as examples will be made to these legal systems.
Article

Care in Family Relations

The Case of Surrogacy Leave

Keywords EU law, case law, surrogacy, leaves, reconciliation of work
Authors Dr. Susanne Burri
AbstractAuthor's information

    The advance of reproductive technologies, like surrogacy arrangements, confronts courts with new demands and dilemmas. This contribution analyses the potential of EU law towards a better and more balanced reconciliation of work, private and family life when no national law applies. In two recent cases of the Court of Justice of the EU on leave for surrogacy mothers, the Advocates General Kokott and Wahl published diverging opinions on similar prejudicial questions of national courts. These opinions illustrate some difficulties in applying the EU concept of equality and interpreting the scope of relevant EU law on leaves. The Court followed a cautious approach, which is not surprising given the lack of consensus on surrogacy arrangements in the member states and their legal implications. Developments in society and technologies in relation to motherhood, fatherhood and parenthood give rise to new legal questions. However, the existing EU legal instruments in this field were not designed to address questions such as for example surrogacy leave for commissioning mothers and fathers. A modernisation of the EU instruments in the light of societal, technological and legal developments in the member states would provide an opportunity to remedy some gaps in the existing EU legal framework on reconciliation issues. In a society where participation in the labour market of both women and men is increasing and getting more balanced, the need to address care of children, older people and disabled people becomes more urgent.


Dr. Susanne Burri
Dr. Susanne Burri is Associate Professor at the School of Law of Utrecht University and specialist co-ordinator for gender equality law of the European network of legal experts in gender equality and non-discrimination.
Article

Out of the Box? Domestic and Private International Law Aspects of Gender Registration

A Comparative Analysis of Germany and the Netherlands

Keywords gender identity, sex registration, intersex, transgender, private international law
Authors Dr. Marjolein van den Brink, Dr. iur. Philipp Reuß and Dr. Jet Tigchelaar
AbstractAuthor's information

    The legal regulation of gender identity seems to be in a state of flux. This paper compares the German and Dutch legal systems with regard to the registration of a person’s sex, focusing on the possibility in both countries not to register a baby’s sex until it can be clearly determined. In both systems, it has thus become possible that a person has no specified gender for a considerable period of time. These persons may encounter various kinds of legal problems, since the two jurisdictions have not been adapted to accommodate them. In addition, two potential problems regarding private international law issues are discussed.


Dr. Marjolein van den Brink
Dr. Marjolein van den Brink is assistant professor at the Netherlands institute for human rights (SIM), Utrecht University. She participates in the research programme of the Utrecht centre for European research into family law.

Dr. iur. Philipp Reuß
Philipp Reuß, Dr. iur., MJur (Oxford) is research assistant at LMU Munich’s Institute of international law –comparative law.

Dr. Jet Tigchelaar
Dr. Jet Tigchelaar is assistant professor at the Institute of jurisprudence, constitutional and administrative law, Utrecht University. She participates as researcher at the Utrecht centre for European research into family law.
Article

Child Participation in Family Law Matters Affecting Children in South Africa

Keywords child participation, family law, legal representation, Family Advocate, curator ad litem
Authors LLE, LLM Kelly-Anne Cleophas and Usang Maria Assim
AbstractAuthor's information

    The right of children to participate in all matters affecting them is considered to be one of the fundamental principles guiding the understanding, interpretation, and application of all children’s rights. In terms of international law, this right is contained in Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Similar provisions are contained in the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. Child participation establishes the right of every child to freely express his or her views, in all matters affecting him or her, as well as the ‘subsequent right’ for those views to be given due weight, in line with the age and maturity of the child involved. The right of the child to be heard, as expressed in the Convention on the Rights of the Child represents a shift in perspectives from children as ‘incomplete human beings’ to children as subjects of rights and not merely objects of legal protection. This article provides an overview of the manner in which the principle of child participation is incorporated in some family law matters affecting children in South Africa.


LLE, LLM Kelly-Anne Cleophas
Kelly-Anne Cleophas: LLB (UWC), LLM (Missouri), LLM cum laude (UWC).

Usang Maria Assim
Usang Maria Assim is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Community Law Centre, University of the Western Cape (UWC), South Africa.
Article

The Minor in Divorce-Related Judicial Proceedings in the Netherlands and Germany

Rights to a Special Representative and to Be Heard in Person

Keywords procedural (in)capacity, conflict of interests, the right to a special representative, the right to be heard in person
Authors Maximilian Strutz PhD and Evelien Verhagen PhD
AbstractAuthor's information

    This contribution examines the extent to which a minor is involved in divorce-related judicial proceedings in the Netherlands and Germany. The discussion will concentrate exclusively on the rights of the minor to a special representative and to be heard in person. The purpose of this contribution is to identify the uncertainties and bottlenecks that arise in both legal systems.


Maximilian Strutz PhD
Maximilian Strutz is currently Rechtsreferendar at the District Court of Cologne (Germany), as well as a PhD student at the University of Cologne.

Evelien Verhagen PhD
Evelien Verhagen is a PhD student at Utrecht University (The Netherlands). She participates in the Utrecht Centre for European Research info Family Law (UCERF).
Article

Consolidating Family Law in Kenya

Keywords family law, matrimonial, marriage, equality, reform
Authors Dr. Lucyline Nkatha Murungi
AbstractAuthor's information

    Following the adoption of a new Constitution in 2010, Kenya embarked on an extensive process of law reform in order to give effect to the provisions of the Constitution. Accordingly, in 2014, two main statutes were adopted in the area of family law: the Matrimonial Property Act and the Marriage Act. In addition, parliamentary discussion of a Bill on domestic violence was underway as of March 2015. The main outcome of the Marriage Act is the consolidation of family laws that were previously covered in multiple statutes, customary law, and common law in one Act. The Matrimonial Property Act is the first Kenyan legislation on the subject, and is therefore a critical development in Kenya’s family law. The new family laws embrace a number of significant developments at the national and international levels in relation to matrimonial relations. However, the new laws also raise concerns in a number of areas of family law including; the equality of men and women in marriage, the capacity of persons with disabilities to consent to marriage, the rights of spouses to matrimonial property, kinds of marriage, and registration of marriages. This article discusses the approach of these laws to selected issues in marriage and matrimonial property, and highlights areas of concern in this regard.


Dr. Lucyline Nkatha Murungi
Dr. Murungi is a Kenyan national, an advocate of the High Court of Kenya, and a researcher in human rights with a keen focus on children and disability rights. She holds a Master of Laws in human rights from the University of Pretoria and a Doctorate in Law from the University of the Western Cape (UWC), South Africa. Dr. Murungi is currently the Head of the Children and the Law Programme at the African Child Policy Forum (ACPF) based in Addis Ababa – Ethiopia, and a Research Fellow of the Community Law Centre, UWC.
Article

Spanish Matrimonial Property Regimes and CEFL Principles Regarding Property Relations between Spouses

Common Core and Better Law

Keywords matrimonial property regimes, Commission on European family law, Spanish civil law, common core, better law
Authors Dr. Pablo Quinzá Redondo
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article compares the CEFL principles to Spanish civil law regarding the general rights and duties of spouses, matrimonial property agreements and matrimonial property rights, i.e., property relations between spouses, by detecting where the latter follows the common core or better law approach solution selected by the former.


Dr. Pablo Quinzá Redondo
Dr. Pablo Quinzá Redondo is professor of Private International Law at the Faculty of Law of Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaiso (Chile).
Article

Identifying the Impetus behind the Europeanization of the Private International Law Rules on Family Matters and Succession

Keywords area of freedom security and justice, EU citizenship, free movement of persons, international family matters, international succession
Authors Jacqueline Gray PhD
AbstractAuthor's information

    The EU is currently in the midst of unifying the private international law rules on family matters and succession. This article seeks to explain this expansion into essentially non-economic territory. In order to do so, it presents the ideological, problem-based, and legal considerations that appear to lie at the heart of legislative action in these fields. However, as will become apparent, it is the role of the Member States that is crucial in guiding this process.


Jacqueline Gray PhD
PhD Candidate, Utrecht Centre for European Research into Family Law, Utrecht University.
Article

Article 15 Brussels II-bis

Two Views from Different Sides of the Channel

Keywords international jurisdiction, transfer of proceedings, international parental responsibility
Authors Ian Curry-Sumner and Maria Wright
AbstractAuthor's information

    Article 15 Brussels II-bis provides for the transfer of jurisdiction from one Member State to another. This contribution examines the conditions and practice surrounding the application of Article 15 Brussels II-bis from two jurisdictions, namely the Netherlands, and England and Wales. From this comparison it is clear that there are evident divergent viewpoints as to the approach to be taken with Article 15 Brussels II-bis. This article is, therefore, aimed at bringing those differences in approach to the forefront so as to assist the European legislature in the ongoing evaluation of the Brussels II-bis Regulation.


Ian Curry-Sumner
Ian Curry-Sumner is the owner of Voorts Legal Services (a legal consultancy firm specialized in training and advice in the field of international family law based in Dordrecht, the Netherlands).

Maria Wright
Maria Wright is a family law solicitor based at Freemans Solicitors in London, United Kingdom.