Visiting foreign researcher: Natalia Rueda (university of Pisa, Italy)

Natalia Rueda, PhD student at the University of Pisa, Italy and Research assistant at the Externado University of Colombia, visited UCERF for two months in Spring 2017. Her research proposal on Compensation Claims in Parent-child relationships foresees a comparative law analysis between Italian and Colombian law. During her visit, she participated in the Ius Commune postgraduate training course on Comparative Law Research and Methodology, directed by Prof. Ewoud Hondius. Conducting her own research, Natalia had gained more knowledge of comparative law methodology, possible interactions between tort law and family law and procreational responsibility. She took the opportunity to dialogue with other researchers on topics of mutual interest, like Dr. Susanne Burri on work and care; Dr. Marjolein van den Brink on gender and human rights; Dr. Jessy Emaus on tort law in family relations; and Soraya Bou-Sfia on comparative law and identity in child law. Natalia was working under the supervision of Prof. Wendy Schrama.



Public Workship Empowering European Families Project

On Tuesday, June 20th, Christiane Wendehorst (Professor of Private Law in Vienna) and Wendy Schrama will organize a Public Workship, as they are the leaders of the Empowering European Families Project. On this one-day English-speaking meeting, the results of the Empowering European Families project, funded by European funding, are presented. The purpose of the project is to establish international marriage contracts within the EU. This meeting presents and discusses the results on matrimonial property law, alimentation law and pension law. Several members of the Working Group and various other international speakers will present their vision of the results with a focus on the theme of party autonomy. Any  input from visitors, both from science and practice, is more than welcome.

Participation is free, but there are limited seats available. Therefore, registration is required through the secretariat of private law ( to Mrs Wijnans, mentioning your name and organization, and 20 June EEF. At the beginning of June, you will receive a program and practical information, provided that there is enough space.



Eleventh UCERF symposium

On the 11th of April 2017 the eleventh UCERF Symposium took place. It was a very interesting and successful meeting. For a report and all powerpoint presentations (in Dutch), click here.



Expert seminar on interdisciplinary research, sex registration and quality of life

On 21 October 2016, ‘GIRARE project’ coordinators Marjolein van den Brink (UCERF & SIM, law) and Christine Quinan (Gender Studies) organised an expert seminar. Twenty participants with various academic backgrounds (including anthropology, development studies, sociology, political science, sexology, history) from Belgium, France, Germany, Russia, England, Ireland and four Dutch universities, discussed developments in the area of sex categorisations and registration, the do’s and don’ts of interdisciplinary research, and possibilities for funding. All participants expressed their interest in further cooperation, hence one of the follow-up activities that is currently being looked into is a COST application.
The GIRARE (Gender Identity And Human Rights Effects) project explores the effects of changes in the legal regulation of sex on the quality of life of people with varying gender characteristics, gender identities and gender expressions, including those identifying as both trans and cis-gender. The research takes a feminist and queer perspective as its starting point.
The initial phases of the project have been sponsored by the Utrecht University funds Institutions and Cultures, Citizenship and Human Rights. For more information see:, or e-mail: or



„Empowering European Families” presented at the 2016 Rethinkin seminar in Utrecht

Not only in Italy, but also in the Netherlands the Empowering European Project has been recently presented, in Utrecht at the 2016 Rethinkin Seminar. RETHINKIN currently is comprised of the entire Flemish academic research into family law with the Dutch Alliantie Familie & Recht as “Low Countries”. The aim of RETHINKIN is the scientific redefinition of family law in the Low Countries.

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During the second day of the 2016 seminar international families governed the agenda with the EEF project as one of the themes. First the project was explained by Wendy Schrama, one of the three project coordinators. She focused on the results from the first workstream on the private international law aspects of international divorces.

Mirela Župan, associate professor and holder of the private international law Chair at the J.J. Strossmayer University of Osiejek in Croatia, then presented a paper on party autonomy and its development in recent times. She remarked that party autonomy on private international law is directly linked to the openness of substantive family law; an aspect in particular relevant for the EEF project, which includes in workstream 2 and 3 substantive family law. Prof. Župan then discussed the arguments in favour and against the use of party autonomy in private international law, including the promotion of human rights and self-determination and the empowerment of EU citizens.

Communication and awareness aspects asked for a communication science perspective on the model agreement and information sheets for international couples, that had been drafted by the EEF Working Group within workstream 1. How can complex legal information be provided to couples and legal professionals? Leo Lentz, who is a professor of Document Design and Communication at the Utrecht Institute for Linguistics UIL-OTS at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, was invited to shed light on these questions. In an interactive workshop he made the participants think about the communications aims of the model agreement, the target group, and then given these goals and target group, the corresponding communication genre should be selected.  It was a very informative working group, making legal professionals aware of the relevance of input from the communication and language sciences.

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