European Family Law Volume III

European Family Law Volume III

Family Law in a European Perspective

Edited by Jens M. Scherpe

This four-volume set maps the emerging European family law. It is intended to serve as a resource for anyone interested in this area of law, as well as a basis for teaching on comparative and international family law courses. The first volume examines the impact of institutions and organisations on European family law. While there is no European body that could actually legislate definitively on family law, there are some institutions that have a direct impact on European family law, while the impact of others is more indirect. In the second volume the changing concept of ‘family’ and challenges for domestic family law are analysed in 21 different jurisdictions, in 16 chapters. All contributions look at ‘horizontal’ family law (the law concerning the relationships between adults), ‘vertical’ family law (the law concerning the relationships of adults and children) as well an ‘individual’ family law (the law on names and gender identity). In the third volume the contributions take a comparative view on specific issues from a European perspective. The fourth volume, which works as a stand-alone monograph, draws on all of the previous chapters, and discusses the present and future of European family law. It establishes areas where ‘institutional’ European family law exists – in the sense that there are binding legal rules for all European jurisdictions – for example, as a result of a decision by the European Court of Human Rights. It also identifies areas where, as a result of common legal and social developments for ‘horizontal’, ‘vertical’ and ‘individual’ family law, an ‘organic’ European family law is emerging and suggests how family laws in Europe are going to develop in the future.

Chapter 1: Marriage in a European perspective

Caroline Sörgjerd

Subjects: law - academic, european law, family law


Is there a European ‘concept’ of marriage? In this chapter common developments relating to marriage in Europe are identified. More precisely, certain common interests or core values, which have been found worth protecting through legislation based on marriage over time and in different European countries, are identified and analysed. Sweden, which is internationally known for its ‘progressive’ laws relating to marriage and cohabitation models, is used as an example and a platform for international comparisons with France, Spain, Germany and The Netherlands. The idea is not to map different regulations based on marriage in Europe and compare them in detail. This has already been done by other legal scholars. Instead an ideological line of development will be illustrated, which became visible in Sweden in the 1920s and gradually in many other European countries since then. The European perspective on marriage also includes an analysis of relevant jurisprudence by the European Court of Human Rights (the Strasbourg Court), based on the European Convention of Human Rights (the ECHR) and dealing with civil status issues. The Strasbourg Court is a significant actor in the human rights arena in Europe with considerable impact on legal development in a wide range of European jurisdictions. The Strasbourg Court is not the only body dealing with human rights in Europe. Another actor which has become increasingly preoccupied with such issues is the European Union (EU).