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Family & Law

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December, 2016 Expand all abstracts

    The comparative discussions held during this seminar show that the different jurisdictions make use of – approximately – the same ingredients for their legislation on adult guardianship measures and continuing powers of attorney. Given the common international framework (for example the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) and given the common societal context (cfr. the strong increase of the ageing population) this may not come as a surprise. Despite these common ingredients, the different jurisdictions have managed to arrive at different dishes spiced with specific local flavours. Given that each jurisdiction bears its own history and specific policy plans, this may not come as a surprise either. The adage ‘same same but different’ is in this respect a suitable bromide.
    For my own research, the several invitations – that implicitly or explicitly arose from the different discussions – to rethink important concepts or assumptions were of most relevance and importance. A particular example that comes to mind is the suggestion to ‘reverse the jurisprudence’ and to take persons with disabilities instead of healthy adult persons as a point of reference. Also, the invitation to rethink the relationship between the limitation of capacity and the attribution of a guard comes to mind as the juxtaposition of the different jurisdictions showed that these two aspects don’t need to be automatically combined. Also the discussion on the interference between the continuing powers of attorney and the supervision by the court, provoked further reflection on hybrid forms of protection on my part. Finally, the ethical and medical-legal approaches may lead to a reconsideration of the traditional underlying concepts of autonomy and the assessment of capacity.


Veerle Vanderhulst Ph.D.
Veerle Vanderhulst works at the Faculty of Law and Criminology, Vrije Universiteit Brussel

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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: …)