About us

The Utrecht Centre for European Research into Family Law (UCERF) organises and promotes research in the field of family and inheritance law from a comparative, international and multidisciplinary perspective. This centre of expertise also devotes attention to teaching and other activities, such as the provision of legal advice.


UCERF unites all the law department researchers who engage in family law research. In addition to their expertise in Dutch, European, international family law, and private international law, many also have extended knowledge of the various national legal systems of other European states.

Research programme
The researchers involved in UCERF will implement the research programme ‘Regulation of Family Relations’. The main research question asks:

“Which aspects of family relations must be (mandatorily) regulated when should the government take protective measures, and in which areas should family members be free to organise their own family relationships? Which roles are therefore assigned to the government, employers, social partners and employees in this regard?”

The programme is divided into three themes:

  1. The regulation of family relationships: what does the state want to do, is it possible, and is it permissible?
  2. Judicial organisation of families
  3. Transnational family relations: regulating on the international and European levels