„Empowering European Families” presented at the 2016 Rethinkin seminar in Utrecht


Not only in Italy, but also in the Netherlands the Empowering European Project has been recently presented, in Utrecht at the 2016 Rethinkin Seminar. RETHINKIN currently is comprised of the entire Flemish academic research into family law with the Dutch Alliantie Familie & Recht as “Low Countries”. The aim of RETHINKIN is the scientific redefinition of family law in the Low Countries.

At the second day of the 2016 seminar international families governed the agenda with the EEF project as one of the themes. First the project was explained by Wendy Schrama, one of the three project coordinators. She focused on the results from the first workstream on the private international law aspects of international divorces.

Mirela Župan, associate professor and holder of the private international law Chair at the J.J. Strossmayer University of Osiejek in Croatia, then presented a paper on party autonomy and its development in recent times. She remarked that party autonomy on private international law is directly linked to the openness of substantive family law; an aspect in particular relevant for the EEF project, which includes in workstream 2 and 3 substantive family law. Prof. Župan then discussed the arguments in favour and against the use of party autonomy in private international law, including the promotion of human rights and self-determination and the empowerment of EU citizens.

Communication and awareness aspects asked for a communication science perspective on the model agreement and information sheets for international couples, that had been drafted by the EEF Working Group within workstream 1. How can complex legal information be provided to couples and legal professionals? Leo Lentz, who is a professor of Document Design and Communication at the Utrecht Institute for Linguistics UIL-OTS at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, was invited to shed light on these questions. In an interactive workshop he made the participants think about the communications aims of the model agreement, the target group, and then given these goals and target group, the corresponding communication genre should be selected.  It was a very informative working group, making legal professionals aware of the relevance of input from the communication and language sciences.