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    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.

    Op 29 september 2015 werd te Antwerpen een studiedag georganiseerd getiteld, ‘Gezinstransities vanuit het perspectief van de kinderen’. Aangezien tegenwoordig steeds meer kinderen opgroeien in een nieuw samengesteld gezin, rijst de vraag hoe kinderen deze nieuwe gezinssamenstelling ervaren en welke functies de verschillende betrokken professionals daarbij vervullen. Tijdens de studiedag stond deze vraag centraal en werd het ontstaan van een dergelijk nieuw samengesteld gezin na echtscheiding vanuit verschillende invalshoeken onderzocht. Daarbij werden de ervaringen met het ouderschapsplan in Nederland eveneens toegelicht, en dit vanuit juridisch en sociologisch standpunt. Vervolgens werden een aantal workshops georganiseerd waar onder meer de pedagogische ouderschapsbelofte met de opvoedingspiramide aan bod kwam, het juridische ouderschapsplan, het plusouderschapsplan, alsook de rol van magistraten in de familie- en jeugdrechtbanken. Tot slot vond een debat plaats tussen verschillende panelleden, zijnde prof. Frederik Swennen, mevrouw Nancy Bleys, raadgever Justitie bij het Vlaams Ministerie van Welzijn, de federaal minister van Justitie, Koen Geens en een jongerenvertegenwoordiger, Thomas van Grinsven.
    On September 29th 2015 a conference was held in Antwerp. The title of the conference was ‘Family transitions from the perspective of the children’. Because nowadays an increasing number of children grow up in newly recomposed families, questions arise concerning the influence of these newly recomposed families on the wellbeing of children who live in these families. Moreover, questions arise about the part which different professionals play within this context. The family recomposition and its impact were studied from different perspectives. Since the Netherlands has introduced an ‘ouderschapsplan’ (‘parenting plan’) some time ago, several findings on such plans were presented from a legal and a sociological perspective. Thereafter, workshops were organised which concerned de ouderschapsbelofte (‘the parental promise’), het juridische ouderschapsplan (‘the legal parenting plan’), het plusouderschapsplan (the ‘plus parenting plan’) and the role played by magistrates confronted with conflicts in the family court. Finally, a debate was held between prof. Frederik Swennen, the Flemish Minister of Welfare, Nancy Bleys, the federal Minister of Justice Koen Geens and Thomas Van Grinsven as a representative of the youth.


Ulrike Cerulus
Ulrike Cerulus is a researcher at the law faculty of Hasselt University (Belgium), where she is preparing a PhD thesis with respect to parental rights and responsibilities within recomposed families.

Charlotte Mol
Charlotte Mol is a student assistant at the Utrecht Centre for European Research into Family Law (the Netherlands).
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