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    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

    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.

    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.

    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.

    This article discusses the possibility spouses have under the Rome III Regulation (EC Regulation 1259/2010) to choose the law applicable to their divorce. It discusses the limits and exceptions of this freedom to choose.


Dr. Thalia Kruger
Thalia Kruger is professor at the law faculty of the University of Antwerp, where she teaches and researches private international law, international civil procedure and international family law. She is also Honorary Research Associate at the University of Cape Town.

    This article seeks to critically analyse the European Commission's Proposal for a Council Regulation on jurisdiction, applicable law and recognition and enforcement of decisions in matters of matrimonial property regimes (COM (2011) 126). It focuses upon the coordination of the Proposal's provisions on jurisdiction and applicable law with the parallel provisions contained in other related EU private international law instruments, namely those relating to divorce (Brussels II bis and Rome III) and succession (Succession Regulation). In doing so, the article adopts a 'stress-test' approach, presenting scenarios in which interaction between these related instruments takes place. The compositions and circumstances of the fictitious couples in these scenarios are varied in order to fully illustrate the potential consequences of the interplay between the instruments. This article seeks to assess the extent to which (in)consistency exists between the current and proposed EU private international instruments and, by evaluating this interaction through a number of norms, how identified inconsistencies impact upon international couples' legal relationships. In order to ensure the analysis remains as up to date as possible, the article will also take into account relevant changes introduced in the latest revised versions of the Proposal.


Jacqueline Gray LL.M.
Jacqueline Gray studied law at the University of Glasgow (2006-2010) and European law at the Leiden University (2010-2011). Following this, she undertook a four-month internship at the Molengraaff Institute for Private Law and five-month traineeship at the European Parliament in Brussels. She is now a PhD student at the Molengraaff Institute for Private Law, where she is writing her dissertation on party autonomy in the EU private international law relating to family matters and succession.

Pablo Quinzá Redondo LL.M.
Pablo Quinzá Redondo, a research scholar funded by the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, is currently undertaking a PhD at the University of Valencia. His specialisation concerns 'The europeanisation of matrimonial property regimes from a substantive and private international law perspective'. Prior to commencing his PhD, he completed undergraduate degrees in both Law and Administration and Business management (2004- 2010), as well as a Master’s degree in Company Law (2010-2012), at the University of Valencia.

    Met de financiële steun van het FWO Vlaanderen werd een doctoraat geschreven over grensoverschrijdend familierecht in de praktijk. Opzet van het onderzoek was om de concrete toepassing van het Belgisch Wetboek IPR grondig door te lichten. De auteur onderzocht of de doelstellingen van de wetgever werden bereikt in de praktijk. Hiertoe steunde zij op drie bronnen: 1) een databank met meer dan 3000 adviesvragen aan het Steunpunt IPR; 2) diepte-interviews met magistraten gespecialiseerd in familiezaken met een internationaal aspect; 3) 659 rechterlijke uitspraken. Dit empirisch bronnenmateriaal gaf de auteur een goed zicht op de wijze waarop rechtbanken en administraties de IPR-regels toepassen. Het artikel gaat uitvoerig in op de empirische onderzoeksmethode en bespreekt enkele onderzoeksbevindingen en beleidsaanbevelingen.
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    Through funding from the Research Foundation Flanders, a doctoral thesis on the actual practices of cross-border family law has been written. The main research question concerned whether or not the Belgian Code of Private International Law adequately deals with 'real-life' international family law matters. It was examined whether the objectives set out by the legislator have been met in practice. Three empirical sources were relied upon: 1) The database of the Centre for Private International Law, which contained more than 3.000 files, ranging from simple questions posed to the helpdesk to more elaborate advice given by the Centre's lawyers; 2) In-depth interviews with judges specialized in cross-border family cases; 3) 656 court decisions. This material allowed the author to obtain a very good understanding of how courts and (local) authorities apply the PIL rules. This paper elaborates on the empirical methodology, several research findings and policy recommendations.


Dr. Jinske Verhellen
Jinske Verhellen is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Private International Law Institute of Ghent University. Alongside this, she lectures in private international law, nationality law and immigration law at the Oost-Vlaamse Bestuursacademie (East Flanders Management Academy).
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