European Family Law Volume I
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European Family Law Volume I

The Impact of Institutions and Organisations on European Family Law

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.
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Chapter 3: The impact of the Council of Europe on European family law

Nigel Lowe


In this chapter consideration is given to the impact of the Council of Europe’s work on family law reform, the focus being on its conventions and recommendations rather than on the human rights jurisprudence generated by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). The 2008 Report on Council of Europe Achievements in the Field of Law – Family law and the Protection of Children states: The Council of Europe has been working for over 40 years to harmonise policies and adopt common standards and practices in its member states in the field of family law. The Council has contributed in a decisive manner to the strengthening of the legal protection of the family, in particular the protection of the interests of children and has, notably, drawn up a large number of international instruments (conventions and recommendations) on the subject. These standards have been used both to improve the legal systems of member states and as a basis on which to make proposals to individual States seeking to reform their systems of family law. At the request of the States concerned the Council of Europe has provided technical assistance to numerous States to assist them with their reforms concerning family law. Before examining this programme and its impact, it will be helpful to explain what the Council of Europe is, how it works, what its mandate is and the types of instruments it produces. Founded in 1949, the Council of Europe was one of the European institutional responses to the Second World War.

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