Invitation for the 9th UCERF symposium

Dear Sir, Madam,

We would like to invite you to the ninth UCERF Symposium on the 16th of April 2015. The symposium starts at 13.00 and ends at 17.00 with a bite and a drink. See the programme and the official invitation here. The symposium will be held in Dutch. To register please fill in and send the form (click here). The symposium will take place in the Geertekerk, Utrecht (click here for directions).

We look forward to seeing you on the 16th of April!



Article 1 lecture

On the 27th of March 2015, the Article 1 lecture was held with as theme ‘Equality in EU law: the added value and limitations for the Netherlands’. The Article 1 lectures are an initiative of the Utrecht University School of Law (Legal Theory) with a long tradition of stimulating the legal and political debate on the constitutional anti-discrimination provision contained in article 1 of the Dutch Constitution. This year dr. Susanne Burri from UCERF held a critical talk on the added value and limitation of the European Union equal treatment law for the Netherlands.

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Photos courtesy of Joop de Smet 

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After the chairman Prof. Ton Hol opened the lecture, Susanne Burri commenced by noting recent studies which show that discrimination continues to be a problem in the Netherlands. Susanne Burri then outlined the most important European legislation and case law of the Court of Justice. In doing so she gave a clear overview of the grounds of discrimination, their scope, the exceptions and the review system of the EU equal treatment legislation. Subsequently she discussed some specific topics: discrimination by association; the interpretation of ‘disability’ in light of the UN Convention on Disabilities; positive action for women and the proposed directive for the equal representation of men and women on corporate boards; equal pay and outsourcing; burden of proof; and enforcement. Susanne Burri concluded that the EU equal treatment law has added value for the Netherlands through the case law of the Court of Justice which has increased protection but also through the development of the concept of indirect discrimination. However there are also limitations.

mr. Annejet Swarte from the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights was commentator and thus spoke about her opinion of the added value and limitations of the EU equal treatment law. By discussing several cases of the Court of Justice, including Meister, Jiminez Melgar, Kalanke and Odar, she highlighted the added value. Yet, according to Annejet Swarte it remains a limitation that the case-law of the Court of Justice is sometimes too complex and does not always appear to be consistent, which can make it difficult for Dutch judges to apply. However, she also concluded that the limitations do not outweigh the benefits. The questions that she posed provided the basis for an interesting discussion with the attendees about, for example, the opening up of the closed system.

The Article 1 lecture of dr. Susanne Burri was a success, she gave the attendees a comprehensive overview of the functioning of the EU equal treatment law and of the discussion about the added value and limitations for the Dutch system.

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Seminar ‘M/F and further: gender registration and the legal position of transgenders’

On the 13th of March a seminar took place on the gender registration and legal position of transgenders, organised by UCERF and the Nederlandse Vereniging voor Burgerzaken. In the context of the WODC report written by Marjolein van den Brink and Jet Tigchelaar, both from UCERF, the future of sex-registration in the Netherlands was discussed and debated under the chairmanship of prof. Titia Loenen.
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Following a presentation of the results from the WODC report of Marjolein van den Brink and Jet Tigchelaar, two speakers were invited to comment on the research, Carolien van de Lagemaat (Transgendernetwerk Nederland) on behalf of transgenders and Margreet de Boer (member of the Dutch Senate, GroenLinks) as a politician. From the Nederlandse Vereniging voor Burgerzaken, Eric Gubbels outlined the various national and international private international consequences that the elimination of gender registration would have.  Three panels followed with various speakers: Philip Tijsma (COC), dr. Machteld Vonk (Leiden University), Miriam van der Have (Nederlandse netwerk intersekse/DSD), Patrick Reijnen (municipality of Amsterdam), Titia Loenen (Leiden University) and Geertje Mak (Nijmegen University). Throughout the afternoon a plurality of opinions were expressed. The overall opinion of most attendees and speakers was that in the long-term the elimination of gender registration should be strived for. However, the afternoon showed a great diversity of opinions on how extensive the legal and social complications would be. Attendees and speakers did agree that in the short term it should be possible, considering the right to privacy, to ensure more restrictive use of gender data.

For a detailed overview of the afternoon see the Dutch version here.

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Seminar ‘M/V en verder: sekseregistratie en de juridische positie van transgenders’ (in Dutch)

The seminar ‘M/V en verder: sekseregistratie en de juridische positie van transgenders’ will take place in Dutch, therefore the invitation is only available in Dutch.

Graag nodigen we u uit voor de studiemiddag ‘M/V en verder: sekseregistratie en de juridische positie van transgenders’ op 13 maart 2015.

Op deze studiemiddag worden enkele belangrijke thema’s en conclusies gepresenteerd uit het WODC rapport geschreven door dr. Marjolein van den Brink en dr. Jet Tigchelaar omtrent de vraag: Is het mogelijk om het huidige systeem van sekseregistratie als man of vrouw te veranderen met het oog op transgenders die zich niet thuis voelen in een van beide hokjes? De thema’s en conclusies worden becommentarieerd vanuit verschillende perspectieven (wetenschap, politiek, ambtelijke praktijk en eigen ervaring van belanghebbenden).

De studiemiddag, georganiseerd door de onderzoeksgroep UCERF van de Universiteit Utrecht in samenwerking met de Nederlandse Vereniging voor Burgerzaken, vindt plaats op vrijdagmiddag 13 maart 2015 van 13.00 tot 17.00 in de Raadzaal, Achter Sint Pieter 200, Utrecht.

Voor aanmelding en informatie kunt u mailen naar:

U kunt de officiële uitnodiging hier vinden.




UCERF researchers are currently working on a book with the working title ‘Familierelaties: Wat wil, wat kan, wat mag de Staat’ (Family relationships: What can, what may and what does the state want to do?).  This question will be answered for multiple topics: the work and care division between men and women, caregiving (mantelzorg), boys and girls circumcision and the regulation of parenting after divorce. In this context an expert meeting took place on the 2nd of September, where reputable experts (both lawyers as well as non-lawyers, academics and practitioners) gave their opinion regarding the various chapters. In addition to the authors and the experts, policy officials from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and other UCERF researchers took part in the meeting. The afternoon has been reported by three student-assistants who, under supervision of Katharina Boele-Woelki, will write a contribution for the book.

Expertmeeting 2  Expertmeeting 4

Expertmeeting 5  Expertmeeting 1