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Family & Law


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    Ter Haar’s thesis is een verfrissende studie. De aanpak is origineel: verschillende thema’s rond het vermogen van een minderjarige worden besproken. De inhoud van het proefschrift bestaat voornamelijk uit reeds gepubliceerde artikelen, met inbegrip van een uitgebreid empirisch onderzoek. Hoewel het vermogen van een minderjarige de rode draad van zijn dissertatie vormt, handelt Ter Haar over veel verschillende aspecten van minderjarigheid: handelings(on)bekwaamheid (vergeleken met het fictieve tachtig-pusbewind), bewind (Boek 1 en Boek 4 van het Burgerlijk Wetboek), ouderlijk vruchtgenot, de som ineens, de verjaringstermijn in het kader van vermogensbeheer en de minderjarige in het erfrecht. Naar mijn mening ligt het zwaartepunt van de dissertatie bij het testamentaire bewind, waar Ter Haar een goede analyse maakt van de verhouding tussen het beschermingsbewind van Boek 1 en die van Boek 4 BW. Maar ook de andere hoofdstukken, gevuld met soms prikkelende suggesties, zijn zeer lezenswaardig.
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    Ter Haar's thesis is a refreshing study. The approach is original: different themes surrounding the property of a minor are discussed. The contents of his thesis mainly consist of already published articles, including extensive empirical investigation. Although the minor's property is absolutely the leitmotiv in his thesis, Ter Haar deals with very different aspects of minority: legal (in)capacity (compared with a fictitious eighty-plus administration), administration (Book 1 and Book 4 of the Dutch Civil Code), parental usufruct, the lump sum, the limitation period within the framework of property management, the minor in inheritance law. As far as I am concerned, the centre of gravity of the thesis lies with the testamentary administration under inheritance law, where Ter Haar makes a fine analysis between the administration from Book 1 and that from Book 4. But also the other chapters, filled with sometimes tantalizing suggestions, are very much worth reading.


Prof. mr. Tea Mellema-Kranenburg
Prof. T.J. Mellema-Kranenburg is a senior lecturer at the Faculty of Law (Institute for Private Law, civil law section) of Leiden University.

    Sinds de invoering van het Burgerlijk Wetboek in 1838 heeft men herhaaldelijk getracht de gronden voor echtscheiding te verruimen. Hoewel deze gronden uiteindelijk pas verruimd werden in 1971, werd de tot die tijd bestaande situatie, waarbij echtscheiding slechts op vier gronden mogelijk was en echtscheiding met wederzijds goedvinden verboden was, als onwenselijk beschouwd. Dit gevoelen werd nog sterker na het arrest van de Hoge Raad uit 1883, de zogenaamde 'Groote Leugen'. Teneinde een einde te maken aan deze 'Groote Leugen' en in een poging het Nederlandse echtscheidingsrecht meer in lijn te brengen met het Duitse recht, heeft de Nederlandse secretaris-generaal voor Justitie, J.J. Schrieke, tussen 1942 en 1944 twee wijzigingsvoorstellen voorgelegd aan de Duitse autoriteiten welke destijds Nederland bezet hielden. Dit artikel analyseert beide wijzigingsvoorstellen en probeert een antwoord te geven op de vraag in hoeverre deze voorstellen het resultaat waren van een mogelijke invloed van het Nationaal Socialisme.
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    Since the introduction of the Civil Code in 1838 one has repeatedly tried to extend the grounds for divorce. Although the grounds for divorce were not extended before 1971, the then existing situation, with only four grounds for divorce and a prohibition of divorce with mutual consent, was considered undesirable This sentiment became even stronger after the judgment of the Dutch Supreme Court of 1883, which became known as the 'Big Lie'. In order to stop this 'Big Lie' and in an attempt to bring Dutch divorce law more in line with German divorce law, the Dutch secretary-general of Justice, J.J. Schrieke, has presented the German authorities, which then occupied the Netherlands, with two draft revisions between 1942 and 1944. This article analyses both drafts and tries to answer the question to what extent these drafts were the result of a possible influence of National Socialism. This article is a summary of a part of the most important conclusions of the dissertation of the author, titled: 'National Socialist Family Law. The influence of National Socialism on marriage and divorce law in Germany and the Netherlands' defended at Maastricht University on 8 November 2012. A commercial edition of the dissertation is forthcoming.


Dr. Mariken Lenaerts LL.M., Ph.D.
Mariken Lenaerts obtained her doctorate at Maastricht University.

    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).

    In this paper, I will firstly illustrate the broader context of the contractualisation of family law by drawing upon the oscillations in family regulation between private and public regulators, in the light of the so-called family law exceptionalism. I consider the contractualisation of family law to be the ordering of the family by families and individuals through the use of legally binding private instruments. I will elaborate upon the substantive and jurisdictional contractualisation of family law in Sections 2 and 3 of this paper respectively. The deliberately 'impressionist' presentation of Section 1-3 leads onto the conclusion which proposes that States benevolently tolerate substantive contractualisation through a lower standard of judicial review, and that, whilst they actively stimulate jurisdictional contractualisation of the content of family relations, the formation and dissolution of family relations still appear to fall within the State's exclusive domain (Section 4).
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    In deze bijdrage situeer ik eerst de 21ste eeuwse contractualisering van het familierecht in de historische pendelbeweging tussen publieke en private regulering van familieleven. Die leidde in de 19de en 20ste eeuw tot de aanneming van een bijzondere, niet-contractuele, aard van het familierecht (sectie 1). Ik beschouw als contractualisering van het familierecht: de regulering van familieleven door de familie en door individuen, door middel van juridisch bindende privaatrechtelijke instrumenten. Ik zal ingaan op de inhoudelijke en jurisdictionele contractualisering van het familierecht in respectievelijk de secties 2 en 3 van deze bijdrage. De bewust 'impressionistische' uiteenzetting in secties 1-3 leidt naar de conclusie dat Staten enerzijds een welwillende houding aannemen ten opzichte van inhoudelijke contractualisering, doordat een lagere norm van rechterlijke toetsing wordt gehanteerd. Anderzijds stimuleren zij actief de jurisdictionele contractualisering van de inhoud van familierelaties. Het aangaan en de beëindiging van familierelaties blijven daarentegen het exclusieve domein van de Staat (sectie 4).


Prof. dr. Frederik Swennen
Frederik Swennen is a senior lecturer at the University of Antwerp and an attorney at the Brussels Bar.

    D'après le Code civil, et ce dè s son origine, la séparation du couple marié peut donner lieu à une obligation légale de payer au conjoint, ou à l'ancien conjoint, une pension censée couvrir ses besoins. En dehors du mariage, point de lien alimentaire prévu par la loi. Depuis 1804, deux évolutions sociales majeures ont cependant changé le visage de la vie de couple. D'un côté, elle ne passe plus nécessairement par le mariage. D'un autre côté, seule sa dimension affective est censée lui donner sens, ce qui la rend éminemment fragile. La question se pose dè s lors de savoir si le lien alimentaire qui existe actuellement en droit belge entre conjoints désunis répond encore de maniè re adéquate et pertinente aux modes de fonctionnement de l'économie conjugale.
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    According to the Civil code, and in view of its development, the separation of a married couple can give rise to a legal obligation to pay maintenance to the other spouse, or ex-spouse, in order to cover his or her needs. In contrast, outside marriage, no statutory maintenance is available. However, since 1804, two major social evolutions have changed the way of life of couples. On the one hand, maintenance no longer flows inevitably from marriage. On the other hand, only the ‘love’ dimension of a relationship supports the provision of maintenance, which makes this claim eminently fragile.
    The question then arises as to whether the maintenance between separated spouses which is presently provided for under Belgian law still adequately and appropriately serves the functioning of the conjugal economy.
    In addition, the absence of maintenance rights for unmarried couples also raises questions. The contribution proposes a reconsideration of the right to maintenance between all couples, married or not, on the basis of other justifications, in particular the solidarity which couples establish during their shared lives.


Dr. Nathalie Dandoy
Nathalie Dandoy is lecturer at the catholic University of Louvain. She is member of the research centre of Family Law (Cefap-UCL). Her main research area concerns the maintenance rights between family members. She is member of editorial committee of Revue trimestrielle de droit familial and Journal des Juges de paix et de police.

    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.

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Frederik Swennen, Contractualisation of Family Law in Continental Europe, F&L July - September 2013, DOI: 10.5553/FenR/000008. www.familyandlaw.eu/doi/10.5553/FenR/.000008 (Last accessed: …)