9th UCERF symposium on the 16th of April 2015

The ninth UCERF symposium on the current developments in family law was held on the 16th of April 2015 in the Geertekerk, Utrecht. The symposium was opened by Prof. dr. Katharina Boele-Woelki who announced the tenth, and also second lustrum, symposium which will take place on the 21st of April 2016.

The first part of the afternoon was chaired by dr. Wibo van Rossum. Prof. Gerard-René de Groot from Maastricht University spoke first about the loss of Dutch nationality due to the elimination of family relationships on which the acquisition was based. After discussing the legislation and telling an unexpected anecdote, he made three proposals for the reform of art. 14 para. 4 Netherlands Nationality Act. On another note, Prof. Thalia Kruger from the University of Antwerp gave a clear presentation on the revision of Brussels IIbis, in which she indicated on which points the regulation should be amended to, among others, better uphold the rights of the child. Dr. Marjolein van den Brink from UCERF then gave a fascinating account of the research she conducted together with dr. Jet Tigchelaar (UCERF) as commissioned by the WODC on the gender registration of trans*genders. Thanks to her presentation all the attendees realized how often the dichotomy of gender occurs in daily life, for example when the speakers start with ‘ladies en gentlemen’. After the first three speakers a discussion followed with various questions on topic such as, the possible loss of nationality of the children of a jihadi and the abolition of the exequatur in Brussels IIbis.


After a short break with coffee and tea, the second part of the program started under chairmanship of dr. Susanne Heeger-Hertter. Before the speakers started, Prof. dr. Katharina Boele-Woelki officially presented the new UCERF book, ‘The role of the state in family relationships: more or less?’, to Sabine Kraus, policy officer directorate Emancipation, Ministry of Education, Culture and Science as a thank you for the collaboration with one of the four contributions that is included in the book. Lawyer mr. Vera Kidjan then spoke about the history and the current problems of adoption in the Netherlands through use of various cases. Prof. Maruits Berger from Leiden University followed with a provocative presentation about the impossibilities and the possibilities of implementing sharia in the Netherlands. In doing so he gave insights into the ways in which the Islamic family law is already applied and how it can easily be incorporated in the Dutch system. Prof. Wilbert Kolkman from the University of Groningen was the last speaker of the day with a talk about legislative proposal 33 987 on the introduction of a limited community of property. He discussed a number of the included changes as well as the desirability for the introduction of a limited community of property. In the final discussion the attendees asked questions about, amongst others, the weak vs. the strong adoption and whether the introduction of the limited community of property would be problematic for the average Dutchman who probably does not keep a perfect administration. The symposium concluded with some drinks allowing further informal discussions on what the future of family law will hold.

The book with the contributions of the speakers can be ordered here (in Dutch).

The UCERF book, ‘The role of the State in family relations: more or less?’ can be ordered here (in Dutch).