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Article

Access_open The ECHR and Private Intercountry Adoptions in Germany and the Netherlands: Lessons Learned from Campanelli and Paradiso v. Italy

Journal Family & Law, January 2021
Keywords Private intercountry adoptions, surrogacy, ECHR, UNCRC, the best interests of the child
Authors dr. E.C. Loibl
AbstractAuthor's information

    Within the past half century, a market in adoptable children has emerged. The imbalance between the demand for and the supply of adoptable children, combined with the large sums of Western money, incite greedy actors in poor countries to illegally obtain children for adoption. This renders intercountry adoption conducive to abuses. Private adoptions are particularly prone to abusive and commercial practices. Yet, although they violate both international and national law, German and Dutch family courts commonly recognize them. They argue that removing the child from the illegal adopters would not be compatible with the rights and best interests of the individual child concerned. In 2017, the ECtHR rendered a ground-breaking judgement in Campanelli and Paradiso v. Italy. In this case, the Court dealt with the question as to whether removing a child from the care of an Italian couple that entered into a surrogacy agreement with a Russian clinic, given that surrogacy is illegal in Italy, violated Article 8 ECHR. Contrary to previous case law, in which the ECtHR placed a strong emphasis on the best interests of the individual child concerned, the Court attached more weight to the need to prevent disorder and crime by putting an end to the illegal situation created by the Italian couple and by discouraging others from bypassing national laws. The article argues that considering the shifting focus of the ECtHR on the prevention of unlawful conduct and, thus, on the best interests of children in general, the German and Dutch courts’ failure to properly balance the different interests at stake in a private international adoption by mainly focusing on the individual rights and interests of the children is difficult to maintain.

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    In de afgelopen halve eeuw is er een markt voor adoptiekinderen ontstaan. De disbalans tussen de vraag naar en het aanbod van adoptiekinderen, in combinatie met grote sommen westers geld, zet hebzuchtige actoren in arme landen ertoe aan illegaal kinderen te verkrijgen voor adoptie. Dit maakt interlandelijke adoptie bevorderlijk voor misbruik. Particuliere adoptie is bijzonder vatbaar voor misbruik en commerciële praktijken. Ondanks het feit dat deze privé-adopties in strijd zijn met zowel internationaal als nationaal recht, worden ze door Duitse en Nederlandse familierechtbanken doorgaans wel erkend. Daartoe wordt aangevoerd dat het verwijderen van het kind van de illegale adoptanten niet verenigbaar is met de rechten en belangen van het individuele kind in kwestie. In 2017 heeft het EHRM een baanbrekende uitspraak gedaan in de zaak Campanelli en Paradiso t. Italië. In deze zaak behandelde het Hof de vraag of het verwijderen van een kind uit de zorg van een Italiaans echtpaar dat een draagmoederschapsovereenkomst met een Russische kliniek is aangegaan, in strijd is met artikel 8 EVRM, daarbij in ogenschouw genomen dat draagmoederschap in Italië illegaal is. In tegenstelling tot eerdere jurisprudentie, waarin het EHRM sterk de nadruk legde op de belangen van het individuele kind, hechtte het Hof meer gewicht aan de noodzaak om de openbare orde te bewaken en criminaliteit te voorkomen door een einde te maken aan de illegale situatie die door het Italiaanse echtpaar was gecreëerd door onder andere het omzeilen van nationale wetten. Het artikel stelt dat, gezien de verschuiving in de focus van het EHRM op het voorkomen van onwettig gedrag en dus op het belang van kinderen in het algemeen, de Duitse en Nederlandse rechtbanken, door met name te focussen op de individuele rechten en belangen van de kinderen, er niet in slagen om de verschillende belangen die op het spel staan ​​bij een particuliere internationale adoptie goed af te wegen.


dr. E.C. Loibl
Elvira Loibl is Assistant Professor Criminal Law and Criminology, Universiteit Maastricht.
Human Rights Literature Review

Belarus

Journal East European Yearbook on Human Rights, Issue 1 2020
Authors E. Konnova and P. Marshyn
Author's information

E. Konnova
Head of the Chair of International Law of Belarusian State University, Director of Human Rights Center based at the Faculty of International Relations of Belarusian State University, PhD (international law).

P. Marshyn
PhD student at the Chair of International Law of Belarusian State University, LLM (law). Justice of Belarus, available at: https://justbel.info/pages/about-us (last accessed 26 July 2020).

    In 2016 the Dutch Government Commission of Reassessment of Parenthood (GCRP) proposed a wide array of legal changes to Family Law, e.g. with regard to legal multi-parenthood and legal multiple parental responsibility. Although the commission researched these matters thoroughly in its quest towards proposing new directions in the field of Family Law, multi-parents themselves were not interviewed by the commission. Therefore, this article aims to explore a possible gap between the social experiences of parents and the recommendations of the GCRP. Data was drawn from in depth-interviews with a sample of 25 parents in plus-two-parent constellations living in Belgium and the Netherlands. For the most part the social experiences of parents aligned with the ways in which the GCRP plans to legally accommodate the former. However, my data tentatively suggests that other (legal) recommendations of the GCRP need to be explored more in depth.
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    In 2016 stelde de Nederlandse Staatscommissie Herijking ouderschap voor om een wettelijk kader te creëren voor meerouderschap en meeroudergezag. Ondanks de grondigheid van het gevoerde onderzoek ontbraken er gegevens omtrent de ervaringen van de meerouders zelf. Dit artikel levert een bijdrage in het vullen van deze leemte door inzage te geven in de (juridische) ervaringen van 25 ouders in meerouderschapsconstellaties in België en Nederland.


Nola Cammu MA
Nola Cammu is PhD Candidate at the Law Faculty of the University of Antwerp.

    This report discusses the interesting remarks and conclusions made by the speakers at the ERA seminar, ‘Recent Case Law of the European Court of Human Rights in Family Law Matters’, which took place in Strasbourg on 11-12 February 2016. The report starts with a brief discussion on the shifting notion of ‘family life’ in the case law of the ECtHR, then turns to best interests of the child in international child abduction cases, the Court’s recognition of LGBT rights and finally the spectrum of challenges regarding reproductive rights in the Court’s case law. The overarching general trend is that the Court is increasingly faced with issues concerning non-traditional forms of family and with issues caused by the internationalisation of families. How this is seen in the Court’s recent case law and how it effects the various areas of family law is discussed in this report.


Charlotte Mol LL.B.
Charlotte Mol is a Legal Research Master student at the University of Utrecht, where she specializes in family law and private international law. She has assisted the Commission on European Family Law with the editing of the comparative study on informal relationships. As a guest student she visited the University of Antwerp for two months, where she researched the best interests of the child in international child abduction cases in collaboration with, and under the supervision of, Prof. Thalia Kruger. She holds a European Law School LL.B. from Maastricht University.
Article

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

Motherhood in Cross-Border Surrogacy Cases

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2015
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

Introduction

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2015
Authors Professor Dr. Katharina Boele-Woelki

Professor Dr. Katharina Boele-Woelki
Article

Care in Family Relations

The Case of Surrogacy Leave

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2015
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.

    Zowel in België als in Nederland komt draagmoederschap voor. Deze bijdrage heeft tot doel om de houding van de twee buurlanden ten aanzien van dit controversiële fenomeen te onderzoeken en te vergelijken.
    De wensouders en draagmoeders ervaren meerdere juridische obstakels. Zo blijkt in beide landen de draagmoederschapsovereenkomst niet geldig en evenmin afdwingbaar te zijn. Hoewel in Nederland de mogelijkheid bestaat om het ouderlijk gezag over te dragen van draagmoeder naar wensouders, is het ook daar, net zoals in België, allesbehalve evident om de band tussen kind en wensouders juridisch te verwezenlijken. Noch de oorspronkelijke, noch de adoptieve afstamming is aan het fenomeen aangepast. Vooral voor Nederland is dit vreemd aangezien de Nederlandse wetgeving uitdrukkelijk bepaalt onder welke voorwaarden medisch begeleid draagmoederschap toegelaten is. De wet schept met andere woorden een gezondheidsrechtelijk kader, maar regelt niet de gevolgen van het draagmoederschap. In België is er daarentegen geen enkele wetgeving betreffende draagmoederschap. Dit betekent dat de onaangepaste wetgeving betreffende medisch begeleide voortplanting van toepassing is op draagmoederschap. Over deze toepassing en de gevolgen ervan bestaat evenwel onduidelijkheid. Commercialisering van draagmoederschap leidt ook tot problemen. In Nederland is professionele bemiddeling en het openbaar maken van vraag en aanbod met betrekking tot draagmoederschap strafbaar gesteld. Daarnaast kunnen de omstandigheden van een zaak waarin het kind als het ware verkocht wordt aan de wensouders zowel in België als in Nederland leiden tot andere misdrijven. Gelet op dit alles begeven sommige wensouders zich naar het buitenland om daar beroep te doen op draagmoederschap. Wensen zij terug te keren met het kind naar het land van herkomst, dan leidt dit in beide buurlanden tot internationaalprivaatrechtelijke problemen.
    Door het gebrek aan een algemeen wettelijk kader, is het draagmoederschapsproces in beide landen vaak een calvarietocht. Dit leidt tot rechtsonzekerheid. Oproepen tot een wettelijk ingrijpen bleven tot nu toe echter onbeantwoord.
    Surrogacy is practiced in Belgium and the Netherlands. The aim of this contribution is to compare the many legal aspects of the phenomenon. In both countries legal problems surround surrogacy: the surrogacy contract is unenforceable; it is difficult for the intended parents to become the legal parents; commercial surrogacy can result in criminal sanctions and cross-border surrogacy leads to limping legal relations. The main differences between the two legal systems are that in Belgium there is no regulation at all, while in the Netherlands, professional mediation and advertising in surrogacy are explicitly forbidden and Dutch law provides a limited health law regulation. In both countries scholars have pressed the need for legal change.


Dr. Liesbet Pluym Ph.D.

    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?


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.
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