European family law and human rights

Struttura insegnamento e programma

Edizione attiva
Lezioni: 45 ore
Docente: Ragni Chiara
Description and objectives of the course

The course, which has been selected by the EU Commission as a Jean Monnet Action under the Lifelong Learning Programme, will focus on the analysis of current issues and major concerns regarding the protection of cross-border family relationships within the EU, with particular regard to the human rights perspective.
European countries, despite many shared institutions, show in fact a diverse range of concepts of 'family'. Notwithstanding that steps towards the harmonization of European family law have been taken in the field of private international law, through the adoption of EU regulations (such as in matters of divorce and parental responsibility) and international conventions and treaties (such as the Hague Abduction Convention), significant gaps, within the European legal framework, still exist as regards the recognition of family links deriving from same-sex marriages or registered partnerships, the status and the capacity of persons, and the establishment of legal parentage, especially where resort to assisted reproduction techniques is at stake.
Differences among EU Member States' legislation have significant impact on human rights and on European integration. The protection of family ties is in fact guaranteed by the EU as a means of improving the free movement of persons and is also among the fundamental objectives of the EU Charter of Human Rights and of the European Convention of Human Rights. Both the European Court of Human Rights and the European Court of Justice, pronouncing on these matters, made a very important contribution to the development of European family law. The analysis of selected cases of both Courts will therefore the object of particular attention during the course.

Teaching Method

The course will follow a case-method approach. Students will be called to develop practical skills in resolving family disputes. The aim is in fact not only to equip them with appropriate knowledge of the relevant topic, but also with the tools to address legal questions originating from a practical case, and, in the long term, to apply European family law principles in a professional and competent manner in international and national dispute resolution processes.
Lectures will be held in English. Seminars on specific topics of European family law, held by professors and researchers from other Italian and foreign universities or by judges and lawyers with a specific expertise, will be organized as a part of the module. Guest lectures/seminars will ensure active participation of students, who will be given materials in advance and be expected to take an active part to the discussions.
Students will be also involved in case studies and will be asked to write (working in groups) brief papers setting out the outcomes of their activities, which will be shared with the class and discussed with academics and practical experts during guest lectures.
A visit to the European Court of Human Rights or the European Court of Justice is hoped to take place during the course.
Attendance upon the course is compulsory.


The exam will consist of a mid-term written test and an optional end-of-course oral exam. Group presentations (case studies) and active participation in the course activities will contribute to the final grade.
Materials for the course and for the exam will be distributed during class and will be also uploaded on the Ariel web platform of the University of Milan.

Selected Bibliography

Hodson et al. (ed.), The International Family Law Practice, Bristol, 2012
Choudhry, Herring, European Human Rights and Family Law, Oxford-Portland, 2010
Meeusen et al. (eds.), International family law for the European Union, Antwerpen-Oxford, 2007
Carbone, Queirolo (a cura di), Diritto di famiglia e Unione europea, Torino, 2008
Secondo semestre
Secondo semestre
Modalità di valutazione
Giudizio di valutazione
voto verbalizzato in trentesimi
Giovedì ore 10.30