n Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - Family law in Europe : developments and perspectives

Volume 41, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0010-4051



The internationalisation of family law leads to complex cross border-cases. Unification of international family law cannot always solve the problems and prevent a loss or a change of legal status. Harmonisation of substantive family law would be an advantage. This article focuses on developments and perspectives in European family law and firstly discusses a topical issue, namely the link between family law and culture. The current state of institutional unification of law in the Council of Europe and the European Union is analysed, whereby the role of the European Court of Human Rights and the Court of Justice is put in perspective. Finally, future possibilities for harmonisation and unification are discussed with a focus on the principles of the . The conclusion is that an institutional unification of substantive family law still has a long way to go, and is not feasible right away. Rather, a long phase of spontaneous approximation of family law systems seems necessary, with harmonisation an important task for legal science and education. Thus, it is hoped that freedom of movement of persons, a reinforcement of European identity and an efficient uniform area of law could be achieved.

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