Research team

Personal Rights and Property Rights

Expertise

Legal advice and consultancy for private individuals and private and public organisations Speeches, seminars, education Supervision of projects of policy or basic research projects

Intercountry adoptions 05/05/2020 - 31/12/2021

Abstract

Intercountry adoptions in Flanders do not always happen correctly. The Flemish government established an expert panel in July 2019 in order to scrutinize intercountry adoptions in the past. The panel has been asked to issue recommendations to ensure that intercountry adoptions in the future will be conducted properly.

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The legal status and protection of unborn human life: an approach from the perspective of human dignity. 01/01/2019 - 31/12/2022

Abstract

Current Belgian law regarding unborn human life lacks clarity, and is inconsistent and incoherent. The few relevant legal provisions are compartmentalised in different instruments and legal domains, and available case law is quite divergent. That piecemeal approach leads to legal uncertainty. The same is true on the international level, in human rights instruments and case law. Hence, the purpose of this project is to develop a coherent and consistent approach towards unborn human life in Belgian law. It is hypothesized that the concept of human dignity can fulfill a key function, when formulated as an operational principle on the basis of which the law on unborn human life can be reformulated. This function is already hinted at in international instruments and case law, with regard to entities to which human rights protection is not (yet) applicable as such. With a view to further operationalization, the current Belgian framework, including international and European law (descriptive part) will be evaluated through functional comparison with the French, Dutch, and federal German and United States jurisdictions (evaluative part). Ultimately, the principle of human dignity and the results of the comparative research will be used to propose and elaborate a coherent and consistent approach to unborn human life in Belgian law (normative part).

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Credit for the Libraries in Social and Human Sciences (Faculty of Law). 01/01/2019 - 31/12/2021

Abstract

This project represents a research contract awarded by the University of Antwerp. The supervisor provides the Antwerp University research mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions stipulated by the university. The project aims to set up a model for well-balanced development of the law library as a laboratory for research and education in all domains of the law.

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Scientific chair: Animal & Law. 01/10/2018 - 30/09/2022

Abstract

The objective of the chair is twofold: to develop animal dignity as a legal principle against which human actions and failings in relation to animals can be judged; and to encourage societal debate from a scientific perspective to raise awareness of the concept of animal dignity.

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RETHINKIN – Family and family law studies in the Low Countries 01/01/2015 - 31/12/2024

Abstract

This is a fundamental research project financed by the Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO). The project was subsidized after selection by the FWO-expert panel. RETHINKIN steers the scientific redefinition of family law in the Low Countries and aims at taking up an international leading role from there. Redefining family law is necessary due to societal evolutions that have undermined the fundaments of traditional family law. RETHINKIN aims at pioneering in legal research in the Low Countries by redefining family law in a constant dialogue with other scien-tific disciplines (intra- and interdisciplinary research) and with civil society (transdisciplinary). Three research questions underlie the activities of RETHINKIN: 1. Which is the competence of the State, both in substantive and procedural law, to regulate the family as actor besides the market and social security ? 2. What should be the content of State intervention, from the perspectives of citizenship, police power and the parens patriae-doctrine? 3. How can law and policy be better tuned to social practices and perceptions ? RETHINKIN currently joins the entire Flemish academic research into family law with the Dutch Al-liantie Familie & Recht (Alliance Family and Law – ACFL, NIG en UCERF) as "Low Countries". RETHINKIN will first draw a Roadmap for Kinship & Family Studies in the Low Countries and develop its further scientific activities from there, towards applications under the EU Framework Programmes for Scientific Research and Innovation. A continuous dialogue with an international multi- and trans-disciplinary panel will allow opening the current research landscape so as to cultivate new areas in alliance with other disciplines. Under construction: http://www.rethinkin.eu

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Project website

Analysing and optimalising the decision tree and the process for administrative fines in animal welfare law. 21/01/2019 - 20/01/2020

Abstract

The research is meant to analyse legally and empirically the possibilities to optimize the decision tree which is used to decide about administrative fines given to persons who violated Flemish animal welfare law.

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The Function and Criteria of Intergenerational Inheritance Law. 01/01/2017 - 31/12/2020

Abstract

According to intestate inheritance law, one's descendants inherit the property of his estate. The sole criterion for intergenerational inheritance rights is legal parentage. However, parentage neglects different family situations. Despite the societal evolution to families of choice (e.g. blended families, homo-sexual couple with children), children who are only biologically or socially related to the deceased, do not inherit because of the requirement of legal parentage. Furthermore, because legal parentage is sufficient to inherit, financial need of heirs and the quality of the relationship with the deceased are not taken into account for the entitlement to intestate inheritance rights. Yet, the European Court of Human Rights and the Belgian Constitutional Court take into account a broader variation of family situations. This tendency should also be noted in foreign legal systems, such as The Netherlands where it is possible for stepchildren to inherit equally to legal children. Also in other Belgian domains of law legal parentage is not an exclusive criterion. For example, in maintenance law children who are only biologically related to their parent can claim maintenance. These evolutions question the function and criteria of intergenerational intestate inheritance law. Thus, this research will verify whether legal parentage is necessary to inherit, and whether it is sufficient. To answer this question the function of intergenerational inheritance law will be determined.

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The Function and Criteria of Intergenerational Inheritance Law. 01/10/2016 - 30/09/2020

Abstract

Belgian intergenerational intestate inheritance law is parentage-based. The sole criterion for intestate inheritance rights is legal parentage. However, parentage neglects different family situations. Today the societal understanding of family relations is no longer limited to legal parentage relations. There has been an evolution to families of choice (e.g. blended families, homo-sexual couple with children). Despite this evolution, children who are only biologically or socially related to the deceased, do not inherit because of the requirement of legal parentage. Furthermore, because legal parentage is sufficient to inherit -neither financial need nor any criteria other (such as a good relationship) is required-, situations of financial need of heirs and the quality of the relationship are not taken into account for the entitlement to intestate inheritance rights. Yet, the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights and the Belgian Constitutional Court do take into account a broader variation of family situations and have evolved to a less parentage-based approach. This tendency should also be noted in foreign legal systems, such as the Netherlands where it is possible for stepchildren to inherit equally to legal children. Also in other domains of Belgian law, legal parentage is not an exclusive criterion to give entitlement to certain rights. For example, in maintenance law children who are only biologically related to the deceased can claim maintenance from the estate of their biological parent, if they are in financial need. These evolving societal and legal perspectives give rise to questions about the contemporary function and criteria of intergenerational inheritance rights. Thus, this research will verify whether legal parentage is necessary to inherit intestate, and whether it is sufficient to inherit. To answer this question the function of intergenerational inheritance law in the society will be determined.

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Empowering European Families. 01/08/2016 - 31/08/2017

Abstract

Empowering European Families (EEF) is a research project led jointly by Katharina Boele-Woelki (Bucerius Law School and Utrecht University), Wendy Schrama (Utrecht University) and Christiane Wendehorst (University of Vienna). It is co-financed by an action grant under the Justice Programme of the European Union and conducted in cooperation with the European Law Institute (ELI) as well as with the support of the Council of the Notariats of the European Union (CNUE). For want of a uniform European regime in the field of marriage and partnership law couples in the EU are still facing a number of problems when one or both partners live in a country other than their country of origin, when changing the country of their habitual residence, or when buying or selling property abroad. To a certain extent, the existing problems could be overcome by way of early choice of court and choice of law, and by agreeing in advance on important economic issues pertaining to a couple's legal relationship. EEF aims at removing obstacles to free movement for couples within the EU and at improving certainty and predictability within a couple's legal relationships by way of Comparative research on the ambit of party autonomy in family and succession law, Development of a set of information sheets and model templates to facilitate the use of party autonomy, and A strategy for awareness-raising among couples in the EU and their legal advisers

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Project website

Administration of a Minor's Estate by his Parents: Research into Belgian Law 24/12/2015 - 15/01/2016

Abstract

This project encompassed the Belgian report for a University of Groningen directed project on the administration of a minor's estate by his parents, on behalf of the Dutch Research and Documentation Centre (Ministry of Security and Justice)

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Multi-parenthood, kinship terminology and the role of law: a critical analysis. 01/10/2015 - 30/09/2019

Abstract

This project aims to study the construction processes of terminology on new kinship formations, in the triangular interaction between social practice, public perception and the law, which affects the legal regulation of kinship. The project will focus on multi-parenthood, given its prominence on the policy agenda worldwide. Multi-parenthood is the condition where more than two parents are linked with a same child biologically, socially, intentionally and/or legally at the same time, e.g. joint parental projects of lesbians and gays or Three Person IVF. We do not have the words to address or refer to persons involved in multi-parenthood, which impedes it to develop in social practice, public perception and law. The project sets out to explore the gaps that now exist in the above-mentioned triangular interaction, in order to tackle the issue of what strategies the legislature could/should adopt to develop a truly accommodating legal framework. Overcoming the current dyadic and sexualised approach to parenthood in that context, will also enable developing new kinship studies in general. Through a law-in-context approach ('civilology'), this project will draw on an interdisciplinary methodological framework. Legal research methods will be combined with regulatory theory and different social science methods for secondary and primary data collection and analysis. The project will be the first to systematically and interdisciplinary address kinship terminology from a perspective of new kinship studies and to propose a legislative strategy towards the recognition of multi-parenthood. The project is divided into six Work Packages, which feasibility is guaranteed because they are embedded in current projects of the promoters' research group. WP1 encompasses a descriptive analysis of theories on kinship vocabulary and/in legal language and on new kinship formations, particularly multi-parenthood. WP2 will be spent on secondary data analysis and on the study of kinship vocabulary in social practices and public perception. WP3 aims at primary data collection and mining. WP4 will encompass a literature review on regulatory theory, particularly the performative effects of legal labelling. WP5 will provide a comparative law analysis of the possible strategies for the legal recognition of multi-parenthood. WP6 will allow integrating the results of WP1-5 and to critically analyse the triangular interplay between social practices, public perception, and legal recognition.

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Project website

Beyond coupledom: the regulatory dilemmas and policy challenges of singleness, polyamory and non-sexual households. 01/10/2015 - 30/11/2015

Abstract

This project addresses the question of how the state should deal with family formations that do not conform to the dominant matrix of the loving couple, and in particular how it should take up the challenges and difficulties these formations raise for law and public policy. It will focus on singleness, polyamory and non-sexual households in Belgium, Italy and the UK. The project will draw on diverse research sources: normative and regulatory theory, social science data, doctrinal analysis and focus groups. In correlation with the findings of my first three years as a FWO Pegasus MC Fellow, this study will provide a lens and case-study through which a core question for contemporary public policy is addressed: what legal and public policy instruments could and should the state adopt to deal with sexual and socio-cultural difference? The research will be conducted in four Work Packages. WP1 will offer a robust literature review to provide the appropriate foundation for the other WPs. WP2 will draw on a good wealth of ethnographic findings to provide a portrayal of the everyday experience of singles and individuals involved in polyamourous and non-sexual households. WP3 will engage in close textual analysis of a range of media representations published in the last 5 years. WP4 will delve into the question of the regulatory role of the state vis-à-vis citizens' autonomy in the construction and governance of their relationships.

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Comparative research parenting authority. 15/01/2015 - 01/07/2015

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand the client. UA provides the client research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

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FAMCARE - Family Dynamics and Care. 01/01/2015 - 31/12/2019

Abstract

This project represents a research contract awarded by the University of Antwerp. The supervisor provides the Antwerp University research mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions stipulated by the university.

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Official Law and Social Meaning: Same-Sex Marriage as an Instance of Legal Pluralism. 01/10/2012 - 30/09/2015

Abstract

In my research I will focus on a topical and debated issue: same-sex marriage. Differently from most of the literature on this topic, I will partray it as a case that is able to prove a more general hypothesis on the role that law plays in society. Indeed, I will defend the claim that this issue should be seen as an instance of legal pluralism. Same-sex marriage illustrates the negotiated and contested natur of law in contemporary societies: the rules comprising modern legal orders are nothing but the upshot of ongoing negotiations among the different normative orderings of substate and sometimes supra-state entities, which compete in order to affect official law.

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Opportunities and implications of the ratification by Belgium of the UNIDROIT '95 Convention on stolen and illegally exported cultural objects. 12/12/2011 - 12/10/2012

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand the Flemish Public Service. UA provides the Flemish Public Service research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

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Advice from the notary office initiative. Personal and patrimonial planning for problem children 16/08/2011 - 30/11/2011

Abstract

This project represents a formal service agreement between UA and on the other hand the Koning Boudewijnstichting. UA provides the Koning Boudewijnstichting research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

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Preparing an evaluation framework for investment in cultural heritage applications in Flanders. 15/01/2011 - 15/07/2011

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand the Flemish Public Service. UA provides the Flemish Public Service research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

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The legal status of unborn human life. 01/10/2009 - 30/09/2011

Abstract

The legal status of unborn human life is uncertain and contested. This Ph.D. thesis aims at defining the legal status of unborn human life. Therefore this thesis will examine the current legal protection of human life from the moment of fertilisation until the moment of birth. In the sphere of this objective a thorough reflection on the concept of 'personhood' is also required.

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Public/Private Crossovers in Contemporary Art Collections. 01/02/2009 - 31/12/2010

Abstract

Private collectors of contemporary art rather create their own legal structures to build, manage and transfer their collection than to seek synergy with public collections. Public authorities lack efficient tools so as to stimulate private collectors to create crossovers. Research into private and public tools regarding art collections will enable the creation of efficient crossovers.

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Social significance and legal protection of private relationships. 01/01/2009 - 31/12/2012

Abstract

This research project addresses the question whether and to what extent a supplementary of imperative legal framework for informal relationships, can be justified. To adequately answer this question gaining insight into the subjective meanings and public functions fulfilled by the various private relationships is essential. Based on qualitative research methods, the research questions are examined using both sociological and legal paradigms in a multidisciplinary setting.

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Building a better quality of life of people with dementia and their environment. 18/07/2008 - 30/11/2008

Abstract

With this project, the King Baudoin Foundation hopes to contribute to improving quality of life for dementia patients and their care-givers. It will do so by basing its work on the cultural images of dementia and on questions relating to patients' autonomy, relationships and dependency at different stages of dementia. Care and legal measures will be examined in greater detail. The aim of this part of the project is to report on the legal measures and to make recommendations.

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Project website

The legal status of unborn human life. 01/10/2007 - 30/09/2009

Abstract

The legal status of unborn human life is uncertain and contested. This Ph.D. thesis aims at defining the legal status of unborn human life. Therefore this thesis will examine the current legal protection of human life from the moment of fertilisation until the moment of birth. In the sphere of this objective a thorough reflection on the concept of 'personhood' is also required.

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The legal status of the psychiatric patient and the Patients rights Act. 01/10/2005 - 30/09/2006

Abstract

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Towards a modern European Family Law: the South-African example. 01/05/2005 - 31/12/2006

Abstract

The European institutions have no direct competence in the field of material family law. Yet, the existence of a European family law cannot be denied. At first sight, the content thereof is quite conservative, thus not encompassing modern evolutions in the formation of a-typical nuclear families. This research project examines the modernisation of European family law on the basis of instruments already available, in the light of comparable evolutions in South Africa.

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Installation allowance 01/01/2003 - 31/12/2003

Abstract

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The legal status of mentally ill in civil law. 01/10/1998 - 30/09/1999

Abstract

The starting point for this research is a medical classification of what might be considered as mental illness. Integration of contested cases, such as drug addiction and sexual deviant behaviour, will be tried. This classification will be projected on provisions in mentally ill civil law, in a main past. The research will be developped in two parts : one about the status of the mentally ill, and one about the position of third parties, including the society. Successively, the provisions concerning personal rights, family law and the goods, will be discussed. Proposals to fill in the gaps will be formulated. The possibility to create a general system of mentorschip over the person and/or goods of the mentally ill, will be studied. Foreign systems will be taken into account thereto.

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    The legal status of mentally ill in civil law. 01/10/1996 - 30/09/1998

    Abstract

    The starting point for this research is a medical classification of what might be considered as mental illness. Integration of contested cases, such as drug addiction and sexual deviant behaviour, will be tried. This classification will be projected on provisions in mentally ill civil law, in a main past. The research will be developped in two parts : one about the status of the mentally ill, and one about the position of third parties, including the society. Successively, the provisions concerning personal rights, family law and the goods, will be discussed. Proposals to fill in the gaps will be formulated. The possibility to create a general system of mentorschip over the person and/or goods of the mentally ill, will be studied. Foreign systems will be taken into account thereto.

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