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Jade Quirke
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ISFL World Conference 2017
Date:25 JAN 2017
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The 16th World Conference of the International Society of Family Law (ISFL) ‘Family Law and Family Realities’ will take place in Amsterdam, The Netherlands from 25 July to 29 July 2017 at the Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam. The Conference will be dedicated to the subject of whether existing national family laws adequately reflect the rapidly changing realities of family life. In various parts of the world both academic lawyers and practitioners are no longer content with focusing on family law alone. Concern about the correlation between family law and family realities triggers growing interest in empirical research involving both lawyers and social scientists.

Experts in family law, social sciences and empirical research are most welcome to attend the conference and to present a paper. Papers may explore the correlation between family law both on the books and in action with actual family practices and needs of different types of families such as married and unmarried couples with and without children, and blended, extended and same-sex families, They may also consider the needs of various types of family members (eg adults, children, elderly persons, persons with disabilities and members of sexual minorities) in different social, cultural and religious settings (eg western, non-western, religious, secular, modern and traditional).

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The preliminary programme is as follows:
  • Do family laws adequately reflect the realities of traditional families?
    • How do the rules of marriage law, marriage ideology and actual marriage practices correlate?
    • Are legal rules on divorce adequate for dealing with high-conflict divorces?
    • Do legal rules adequately reflect the de facto financial arrangements of the (ex)spouses?
    • Is post-divorce spousal maintenance obsolete?
    • Do legal rules on child support adequately reflect the needs of the children and the financial situations of the parents?
  • Do family laws adequately reflect the realities of non-traditional families? (eg unmarried couples; same-sex couples; families created through assisted reproductive technologies, planned lesbian parentage and surrogate-mother families; step-parent families; families with adopted children):
    • Do legal rules regulating the legal status of the relationships of the partners adequately reflect the realities of their relationship?
    • Do legal rules regulating financial matters adequately reflect the de facto financial arrangements of the (ex) partners?
    • Do legal rules governing the parental status (legal parentage; parental responsibilities) of legal/biological and social parents correspond with their de facto roles in the child’s life?
  • Does child law adequately reflect the reality of children’s evolving position within the family and society?
    • Do legal rules on child protection adequately accommodate the needs of vulnerable children?
    • Do legal rules of juvenile criminal law adequately accommodate the needs of vulnerable children?
    • Do legal rules governing the rights of the child adequately reflect the changing status of children within the family?
  • Do new and existing family laws work as their designers intended them to work?
  • How can we mediate the tensions between evidence-based law making and politics-driven law making?
  • What methods are best for evaluating the intended and unintended effects of family law laws?
  • Do family laws reflect the realities of families with elderly and/or disabled family members?
    • Do legal rules adequately reflect de facto care arrangements?
    • Do laws on maintenance and support adequately reflect the de facto financial care provided by family members?
    • Do traditional instruments aimed at protecting persons not able to take care of their own affairs meet the needs for tailor-made protection and empowerment of elderly and disabled persons?
    • Is there a role for new and creative instruments such (eg continuous or durable powers of attorney, health care proxies).Going forward, how can we achieve a better fit between family law and family realities?
  • Is there need for more interdisciplinary research?
  • What are the benefits and challenges of close cooperation between legal professionals and social scientists?
  • What are the benefits and challenges of cooperation between academics (eg researchers, professors, panels of experts) and law-makers (eg legislatures, drafting commissions)?

The deadline for submitting abstracts is 15 February 2017. An early registration offer ends on 15 April 2017. Further information about the conference can be viewed on http://acfl.nl/en/isfl-2017-world-congress/

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