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    La présente contribution vise à analyser les développements jurisprudentiels de la Commission européenne des droits de l’homme et de la Cour européenne des droits de l’homme en matière d’interruption de grossesse. Nous formulons une réponse à la question suivante: vu de l’évolution de la jurisprudence, quelles conclusions pouvons-nous tirer sur la position actuelle de la Cour européenne des droits de l’homme sur la question du droit et de l’accès à l’avortement? À travers une analyse des décisions et arrêts rendus par la Commission et la Cour, nous étudions la façon dont les différents intérêts et droits s’articulent, à savoir ceux de la femme enceinte, du père potentiel, de l’enfant à naître et de la société. Au terme de cette étude, nous déterminons la marge d’appréciation dont jouissent les états membres en la matière, ainsi que la manière dont la Cour réalise une balance des différents intérêts en présence.

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    This contribution aims to analyze the case-law developments of the European Commission of Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights in matters of termination of pregnancy. We formulate an answer to the following question: regarding the case-law developments, what can we conclude on the European Court of Human Rights’ current position on the right and access to abortion? Through an analysis of the Commission and the Court’s decisions and judgments, we study how the different interests and rights are articulated, namely those of the pregnant woman, the potential father, the unborn child, and the society. At the end of this study, we determine the member states’ margin of appreciation regarding abortion and how the Court finds a balance between the various concerned interests.


A. Cassiers
Aurélie Cassiers est assistante - doctorante à l'UHasselt. L’auteure souhaite remercier la relecture attentive et les remarques pertinentes de sa promotrice et sa co-promotrice, prof. dr. Charlotte Declerck (UHasselt) et prof. dr. Géraldine Mathieu (UNamur).

    This article engages in a comparison of the regulation of PR in the Netherlands and the UK (specifically England and Wales). The latter is a good comparator as it operates a similar regulatory approach to the Netherlands, that of conditional acceptance of PR, the condition being (prior) consent. Furthermore, the UK boasts a more detailed and mature legal framework that continues to be tested through caselaw, and thus offers insight into how a regulatory approach conditional upon the (prior) consent of the deceased can fare.
    The article starts with a brief exposition of the new Dutch guidelines and the current legislative position in the Netherlands vis-à-vis posthumous reproduction (part II). Likewise, the relevant UK guidelines and legislative position are summarized (part III). This article draws out the similarities and differences between the two regimes, as well as engaging in a critical analysis of the regulations themselves. It then looks at how the UK regime has been challenged in recent years through caselaw in anticipation of the issues that might confront the Netherlands in future (part IV). The article concludes (part V) that the key lesson to be drawn from the UK experience is that clarity and consistency is crucial in navigating this ethically, emotionally, and time sensitive area. Further, that both the UK and the Netherlands can expect demand for more detailed and precise regulatory guidance as requests for the procedure increase, and within evermore novel circumstances.

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    Dit artikel vergelijkt de regulering van postume reproductie (PR) in Nederland en het Verenigd Koninkrijk (in het bijzonder Engeland en Wales). Laatstgenoemde is daarvoor zeer geschikt, aangezien het VK een vergelijkbare reguleringsbenadering heeft als Nederland, namelijk de voorwaardelijke acceptatie van PR, waarbij (voorafgaande) toestemming de voorwaarde is. Bovendien beschikt het VK over een gedetailleerder en volwassener juridisch kader dat continu wordt getoetst door middel van rechtspraak. Dit kader biedt daarmee inzicht in hoe een regulerende benadering met als voorwaarde (voorafgaande) toestemming van de overledene kan verlopen.
    Het artikel vangt aan met een korte uiteenzetting van de nieuwe Nederlandse richtlijnen en de huidige positie van de Nederlandse wetgever ten opzichte van postume reproductie (deel II). De relevante Britse richtlijnen en het wetgevende standpunt worden eveneens samengevat (deel III). Vervolgens worden de overeenkomsten en verschillen tussen de twee regimes naar voren gebracht, met daarbij een kritische analyse van de regelgeving. Hierop volgt een beschrijving van hoe het VK de afgelopen jaren is uitgedaagd in de rechtspraak, daarmee anticiperend op vraagstukken waarmee Nederland in de toekomst te maken kan krijgen (deel IV). Tot slot volgt een conclusie (deel V) waarin wordt aangetoond dat de belangrijkste les die uit de Britse ervaring kan worden getrokken, is dat duidelijkheid en consistentie cruciaal zijn bij het navigeren door dit ethische, emotionele en tijdgevoelige gebied. En daarnaast, at zowel het VK als Nederland een vraag naar meer gedetailleerde en precieze regelgeving kunnen verwachten naarmate verzoeken om deze procedure toenemen, met daarbij steeds weer nieuwe omstandigheden.


Dr. N. Hyder-Rahman
Nishat Hyder-Rahman is a Post-doctoral Researcher at the Utrecht Centre for European Research into Family Law, Molengraaff Institute for Private Law, Utrecht University.

    De grote toestroom van migranten en asielzoekers in de EU houdt vandaag nog steeds verschillende regelgevers wakker. Niet alleen de nationale overheden, maar ook de EU-regelgevers zoeken naarstig naar oplossingen voor de problematiek. Daartoe trachten de EU-regelgevers het Gemeenschappelijk Europees Asielstelsel (GEAS) bij te werken.
    Binnen de groep migranten en asielzoekers bestaat een specifiek kwetsbaar individu: de niet-begeleide minderjarige vreemdeling (NBMV). Hij is zowel vreemdeling als kind en kreeg reeds ruime aandacht binnen de rechtsleer. Nochtans werd deze aandacht niet altijd weerspiegeld in de EU-wetgeving. Het lijkt alsof hij door de regelgevers af en toe uit het oog verloren werd.
    Uit het onderzoek blijkt dat de EU-regelgevers nog een zekere weg te gaan hebben. In de eerste plaats bestaat er wat betreft het geheel aan regels met betrekking tot de NBMV weinig coherentie. De EU-regelgevers zouden bijvoorbeeld meer duidelijkheid kunnen scheppen door een uniforme methode vast te leggen voor de bepaling van de leeftijd van de NBMV. Hetzelfde geldt voor een verduidelijking van de notie ‘het belang van het kind’ binnen asiel en migratie. Verder blijken de Dublinoverdrachten en de vrijheidsontneming van de NBMV nog steeds gevoelige pijnpunten. Hier en daar moet aan de hervorming van het asielstelsel nog wat gesleuteld worden, zodat de rechten van de NBMV optimaal beschermd kunnen worden.
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    Today, the large influx of migrants and asylum seekers into the European Union (EU) keeps several regulators awake. Not only national authorities, but EU regulators too are diligently searching for solutions to the problems. To this end, EU regulators are seeking to update the Common European Asylum System (CEAS).
    There is however a particularly vulnerable individual within the group of migrants and asylum seekers: the unaccompanied alien minor (UAM). These minors already received a great deal of attention within legal doctrine. However, this attention was not always reflected in EU legislation. It seems as if UAM are occasionally lost from sight by the regulators.
    This article shows that the EU regulators still have a certain way to go. First, there is little coherence in the set of rules relating to the UAM. The EU regulators could, for example, create more clarity by laying down a uniform method for determining the age of the UAM. The same applies to a clarification of the notion of 'best interests of the child' within the context of asylum and migration. Second, the proposal for a new Dublin Regulation and the proposal for a new Reception Conditions Directive still appear to be sensitive. Here and there, the reform of the asylum system still needs adjustments, so that the rights of UAM can be optimally protected."


Caranina Colpaert LLM
Caranina Colpaert is PhD researcher

    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.

    Those who talk can be heard. Those who are allowed to talk may be listened to. This study is an attempt to give legal voice to those who cannot talk or are usually not listened to: children. This study is about the attention given to their interests, the best interests of the child. When these interests are immersed in a minority context, children may be overlooked for different reasons, including discriminatory attitudes or prejudice regarding their families. Law and its interpretation must be changed in order to include the difference. This study discusses the best interests of the child principle with special attention to its legal relevance in cases where lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) are, or want to be, parents. The authoritative source for the interpretation of the principle is the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). The analysis focuses on the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and its case law. The study aims to explore the Court’s approach to the best interest of the child and identify whether the principle is being consistently applied in cases involving LGBT families, given the fact that sexual orientation and gender identity are still sensitive issues in Europe. This is done by comparing these cases to cases lodged by applicants who were not identified as an LGBT person. The margin of appreciation doctrine and the lack of European consensus on sexual minorities’ rights are confronted with the urgent paramount consideration that has to be given to children’s best interests. The analysis explores whether there is room for detecting a possible Court’s biased approach towards the concept of the best interests of the child. This study challenges the Court’s decisions in the sense that the focus should not only be at the LGBT parents’ rights to private and family life, but also at the interests of their daughters and sons. This is an attempt to call upon the ECtHR and all states not only to actively fight discrimination against LGBT persons, but, ultimately, to stop interpreting the concept of the best interests of the child in an arguably biased way, and to consider the principle’s legal value in any decision, regardless of their parents’ sexual orientation, gender identity or any other distinction.


Mr. Gabriel Alves de Faria
Gabriel Alves de Faria is a Brazilian lawyer, LGBTI activist and human rights specialist who holds a Law degree from the Federal University of Espirito Santo and a European Master’s Degree in Human Rights and Democratisation (E. MA/EIUC - Utrecht University). Among other legal and social experiences in the human rights field, Gabriel has worked as a researcher in comparative sexual orientation Law at Leiden University and most recently as a Fellow and consultant lawyer at the LGBTI Rapporteurship of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Washington, DC. His latest project is a documentary on the situation of LGBTI persons in Southeast Asia.
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