UPDATE: Transnational and Comparative Family Law: Harmonization and Implementation
By Marylin Johnson Raisch
Marylin Johnson Raisch served as the Associate Director for Research and Collection Development at the Georgetown Law Center until her 2021 retirement, and previously as the head of the library’s international law department. She received her J.D. from Tulane University School of Law. She holds degrees in English literature from Smith College and St. Hugh's College, Oxford. She received her M.L.S. degree from Columbia University School of Library Service. Marylin is the author, co-author, and editor of several articles, reviews, and web guides on international and foreign legal research. Such include the current ASIL European Union Research Guide; the annual book and web surveys for the Journal of International Economic Law; Code and Hypertext: The Intertextuality of International and Comparative Law, 35 Syracuse J. Int’l L. & Com. 309 (2008); and chapters on UK Legal Research and UK implementation of EU law (in Legal Research Handbook [D.T. MacEllven], Neil A. Campbell and John N. Davis, eds., 6th ed., LexisNexis Canada, 2013). Marylin has served as moderator or panelist in several continuing education programs at the annual meetings of the American Association of Law Libraries, is a past Chair of its Foreign, International, and Comparative Law Special Interest Section, and is a co-chair of the International Legal Research Interest Group of the American Society of International Law
Published March/April 2022
Table of Contents
- 1. Introduction
- 2. Major International Agreements
- 2.1. The Hague Conference of Private International Law
- 2.1.1. International Protection of Children, Family, and Property Relations
- 2.1.2. Status of Hague Family Law Treaties
- 2.2. The United Nations
- 2.3. Council of Europe
- 2.4. U.S. Department of State: Private International Law (PIL) and Family Law
- 2.5. The Organization of American States
- 2.6. The African Union
- 2.7. The Role of Religious and Socialist Legal Regimes in the Middle East and East Asian Jurisdictions
- 2.1. The Hague Conference of Private International Law
- 3. Civil and Common Law Approaches
- 4. An Illustrative List of National Constitutions and Legal Sources for Family Law
- 5. A Selection of Recent Relevant Articles and Books
"Transnational" (or "transactional") law is becoming a frequent phenomenon in the practice of law and now occupies a prominent place in the study of international and comparative law. Both academic and practitioner-oriented information sources point to ways to locate and connect national laws with treaties and regimes of harmonization; however, commercial and procedural rules have been, in general, easier to locate than substantive and harmonized law in the family law area. This guide points researchers to significant electronic and print sources in transnational and comparative family law.
The purpose of this guide is to indicate how these international conventions are implemented in selected jurisdictions with some indication of how to locate substantive national law under these same international regimes. An excellent resource on this topic is the Encyclopedia of Private International Law (Jürgen Basedow, et al., eds), Edward Elgar Publishing, 2017. It includes article/entries on the topics dealt with most often in international family law: adoption, child abduction, divorce, marriage, and trusts. This edition is also available online through ElgarOnline, with downloadable PDF chapters. Another resource online in the International Encyclopedia of Laws: Private International Law (Bea Verschragen, ed.) (alternatively titled IEL Private International Law), Kluwer Law International, 2001- . Fewer national systems are covered, but each article is dated and available as a PDF of the print format.
2. Major International Agreements by Sponsor or Region
In the family law area, treaties that apply within a regional legal regime are more likely to have a supra-national enforcement mechanism or court (such as the European Union or the OAS or lately the emerging African Union regime). Other major instruments are interpreted through an evolving jurisprudence based on decisions of national courts in the several states party to that particular treaty.
The official website of the Hague Conference on Private International Law lists all treaties sponsored by The Hague Conference and segregates all the treaties in the family law area as pasted below to preserve the sub-headings. The conference has developed an International Child Abduction Database (INCADAT). Treaties covered in the database are indicated below by an asterisk ‘*’. Sources in the database are available in English, French, and Spanish to support the implementation of the Hague Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction; the Hague Convention of 29 May 1993 on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-country Adoption; and the Hague Convention of 19 October 1996 on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Co-operation in Respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children (texts linked below). Its features include a case law search template and database for use by judges, Central Authorities, and lawyers, which can be accessed by state party, legal issue, treaty article, or level of court. Note that equally relevant are the two other Hague handbooks, publications of the Conference online and in print:
- Practical Handbook on the Operation of the Evidence Convention [1970 Mar. 18], 2016 (latest in print).
- Practical Handbook on the Operation of the Service Convention [1965 Nov. 15), 2016 (latest in print).
International Protection of Children
- Protection of Children (1996)
- Child Abduction (1980)
- Adoption - Co-operation (1993)
- Maintenance Obligations (Applicable Law) (1973)
- Protocol on the Law Applicable to Maintenance Obligations (2007). Note that Art. 2, Universal Application, states that the “Protocol applies even if the applicable law is that of a non-Contracting State”. Repeated below under Marriage; applies also to child support (Art. 1).
- Maintenance Obligations (Enforcement) (1973)
- Maintenance Obligations- Children (Applicable Law) (1956)
- Maintenance Obligations - Children (Enforcement) (1958)
- Protection of Minors (1961)
- Adoption (1965)
- The International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance (2007)
International Protection of Adults
Relations between (Former) Spouses
- Marriage (1978)
- Divorce (1970)
- Matrimonial Property Regimes (1978)
- Maintenance Obligations (Applicable Law) (1973)
- Maintenance Obligations (Enforcement) (1973)
- Protocol on the Law Applicable to Maintenance Obligations (2007)
Wills, Trusts and Estates
- Form of Wills (1961)
- Administration of Estates (1973)
- Succession to Estates (1989) (not yet in force)
- Trusts (1985)
It is important to check the status tables for all member states of the Conference; while most Hague treaties are in force, some are not, and several have attracted few signatories or ratifications.
An excellent feature of these charts, available by instrument (right navigation bar under “status table”) as well as in an overview PDF showing member of the conference as well as non-member states. In the Governance section of the site, one can also find indication of the interrelationship between efforts at harmonizing the rules for local family law issues undertaken by The Hague Conference and those undertaken by other non-governmental or regional governmental organizations devoted to private and commercial law harmonization, such as UNICITRL and the trade regimes of Europe and Latin America.
Official citations and print sources linked in part at the site may be supplemented by reference to the collection of texts and travaux préparatoires: Hague Conference on Private International Law, Actes et documents de la session / Conférence de La Haye de droit international privé. La Haye: Bureau permanent de la Conférence, 1961- , and by reference to Hague Conference on Private International Law, Recueil des conventions (1951-1996) = Collection of Conventions (1951-1996), ed. Permanent Bureau of the Conference, [The Hague]: Hague Conference on Private International Law; Cambridge, MA: distributed by Kluwer Law International, .
Legislative projects, that is, national surveys and studies toward possible new areas of treaty drafting, treaty supplementation, and negotiation, include the following: Cohabitation outside marriage, Family agreements involving children, Parentage/Surrogacy, and Protection orders. Documentation of these questionnaires, circulars, and other texts are available by topic in the legislative projects section of the conference web site.
Regarding cohabitation outside marriage, it is clear from the questionnaire for states, dated 2016, that as Hague member states are surveyed, same-sex couples are included and so for those states that legislate and may want to harmonize around registered partnerships or unmarried cohabitation, this may in some cases be mainly or only provided for same-sex couples. The questionnaire text is available through the above link in the section for ongoing projects (not yet resulting in treaty drafts).
22.214.171.124.1. Regarding the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, Oct. 24, 1980
T.I.A.S. No. 11670, S. Treaty Doc. No. 99-11: As a party to this treaty, the United States has implemented it through the International Child Abduction Remedies Act, Pub. L. No. 100-300, 102 Stat. 437, codified at 42 U.S.C. §§ 11601 et seq. In Abbott v. Abbott, 130 S.Ct. 1983 (2010), The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a particular jurisdiction’s grant of a ne exeat right to a parent (in this case, under Chilean law), even if that parent was not awarded primary custody of the minor child, conveys “a right of custody” under which the non-custodial parent may apply for return. The court related it to “the care of the person of the child” (Abbott at 1990). Most significant, however, is that the court recognized “an emerging international consensus that ne exeat rights are rights of custody” (Abbott at 1994). Note that ne exeat refers to the non-custodial parent’s right to consent to a child’s travel to another jurisdiction. There has been some subsequent negative treatment in the U.S., and see also other issues discussed in Paul B. Stephan, “Abbott v. Abbott: A New Take on Treaty Interpretation by the Supreme Court”, ASIL Insight, Volume 14, Issue 24, August 4, 2010.
For a summary of recent European developments alongside Abbott see Linda J. Silberman, “The Hague Convention on Child Abduction and unilateral relocations by custodial parents: a perspective from the United States and Europe - Abbott, Neulinger, Zarraga”, 63 Oklahoma Law Review 733 (2011).
Elisa Perez-Vera, Explanatory Report, 3 Acts and Documents of the Fourteenth Session of the Hague Conference on Private International Law, 426 (1982) has been recognized as an official commentary, but is prepared from procès-verbaux and the reporter’s notes and not approved by the Conference. See this Report at 427-238. The nature and use of certain Special Commission documents for INCADAT and the Child Abduction Convention have been questioned, see Carol S, Bruch and Margaret M. Durkin, “The Hague’s Online Child Abduction Materials: A Trap for the Unwary”, 44 Family Law Quarterly 65 (2010-2011).
There is a general sense that the Explanatory Reports of the Hague Conference on Private International Law have been regarded by many jurisdictions, and more generally the United States, and a type of travaux préparatoires although there are disclaimers such as that of rapporteur Perez-Vera above. While the United States is not party to the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, its Article 32 provides for supplementary means of interpretation.
Main site for family-related human rights is the International Human Rights Law. Dates of entry into force given if different from year treaty was opened for signature. Links to the status of treaties for the United Nations Treaty Series now include a link to full text by clicking on the U.N.T.S. volume number.
The Universal Human Rights Index now integrates the documents of the treaty bodies, periodic reporting, and jurisprudence where applicable in a complaints procedure under an optional protocol, and alternative reports. One can search by country, mechanism (treaty or procedure), theme, or category of persons. This applies more significantly to the rights of women and of the child, below. There are options to extend the search into the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals as well.
- Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, G.A. Res. 2263(XXII), U.N. Doc. A/RES/2263(XXII), (Nov. 7, 1967).
- Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women , Dec. 18, 1979, 1249 U.N.T.S. 13; 19 I.L.M. 33 (1980).
- Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, Dec.10, 1999, 2131 U.N.T.S. 83 (2000).
- Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, G.A. Res. 48/104, U.N.Doc. A/RES/48/104(Dec. 20, 1993).
- Declaration on the Protection of Women and Children in Emergency and Armed Conflict , G.A. Res. 3318(XXIX), U.N. Doc. A/RES/3318(XXIX) (Dec. 14, 1974).
- Protocol to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in persons, especially women and children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, Nov. 15, 2000, 2237 U.N.T.S. 319.
- Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) , Nov. 20, 1989, 1577 U.N.T.S. 3; 28 I.L.M. 1456.
- Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography (CRC-OPSC), May 25, 2000, U.N. Doc. A/RES/54/263.
- Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict (CRC-OPAC) , May 25, 2000, U.N. Doc.A/RES/54/263 (2002).
- Minimum Age Convention, June 26, 1973 (No. 138) ILOLEX NORMLEX.
- Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182), June 17, 1999, ILO via ILOLEX NORMLEX.
- Declaration on Social and Legal Principles relating to the Protection and Welfare of Children, with Special Reference to Foster Placement and Adoption Nationally and Internationally G.A. Res. 41/85, U.N. Doc A/RES/41/85 (Dec. 3, 1986) (see also 1993 Hague convention on inter-country adoption and the 1980 Hague convention on child abduction, cited in the section above)
- Child Rights Information Network (CRIN) contains all major past and present documentation on children’s rights and the conventions. It included a case-law database for cases under the CRC from member states. There is a section providing a caselaw database.
- Children’s Rights: International and National Law and Practices (from the Law Library of Congress).
- U.S. Department of State, International Parental Child Abduction
- Convention on Consent to Marriage, Minimum Age for Marriage and Registration of Marriages, Dec. 10, 1962, 521 U.N.T.S. 231 (1964).
- Convention on the Nationality of Married Women, Feb. 20, 1957, 309 U.N.T.S. 65 (1958).
- Council of Europe
- European Social Charter - Searches: sex equality, maternity, mothers and children, workers with family responsibilities, housing. Uses the same structure and format of the other more well-known HUDOC database for decisions and judgments of the European Court of Human Rights.
- Council of Europe Human Rights Equality between men and women
2.4. U.S. Department of State
- Private International Law (PIL) and its portal on Family Law
- U.S. Department of State International Child Support Enforcement
- InterCountry Adoption, Office of the Department of State: Excellent database of statistics, the adoption process, country-by-country information, and the operation of the Hague treaty.
Most conventions are linked under the treaties and conventions section of the The Organization of American States (OAS) site without specific URLs.
- Inter-American Children’s Institute contains information and documents on implementation in OAS member states of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child
- Inter-American Commission of Women: The Inter-American Commission of Women has sponsored the following conventions:
- Convention on the Nationality of Women (Montevideo, Uruguay, 1933)
- Inter-American Convention on the Granting of Civil Rights to Women (Bogotá, Colombia, 1948)
- Inter-American Convention on the Granting of Political Rights of Women (Bogotá, Colombia, 1948)
- Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment, and Eradication of Violence Against Women (Belém do Pará, Brazil, 1994)
Office of International Law, Private International Law: The Office of International Law, Private International Law lists the following information for treaties in the family law area stating as follows:
"The CIDIP [Spanish acronym for Inter-American Specialized Conferences on Private International Law, a series of topical conferences (author's note)] on process has produced several Inter-American Conventions and other instruments on family law, including the following: Inter-American Convention on the Domicile of natural persons in private international law; Inter-American Convention on conflicts of laws concerning the adoption of minors; Inter-American Convention on the international return of children; Inter-American Convention on support obligations; and, Inter-American Convention on the international traffic in minors".
- Inter-American Convention on Domicile of Natural Persons in Private International Law. Montevideo, Uruguay, 1989
- Inter-American Convention on Conflict of Laws concerning the Adoption of Minors. La Paz, Bolivia, 1984
- Inter-American Convention on Support Obligations. Montevideo, Uruguay, 1989
- Inter-American Convention on International Traffic in Minors, Mexico City, Mexico, 1994
The INCADAT database on Child Abduction for the Hague Conference on Private International Law includes and Inter-American Convention section for the Inter-American Convention on the International Return of Children of 15 July 1989.
- Protocol to The African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa
- African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child
- The status of treaties sponsored by the African Union is in a chart listing links to full text available online.
2.7. The Role of Religious and Socialist Legal Regimes in the Middle East and East Asian Jurisdictions
In some jurisdictions, many areas of family law, particularly marriage, divorce, inheritance and succession, and personal status, such as minority, are governed at the national level by religiously influenced legal regimes, either optionally for a given religious community or as indicated in the constitution of the jurisdiction. For a basic presentation of these concepts and selected sources in print or online, researchers may wish to consult Marylin J. Raisch, Religious Legal Systems, GlobaLex, 2013.
Civil law is a general term for legal systems derived from ancient Roman law, as received or later interpreted by the builders of national systems of codified law in the late eighteenth through the nineteenth centuries C.E. in Europe. Influenced by medieval interpretations of the Roman tradition, and through use by the church and Germanic tribes, the civil law tradition evolved in a complex way alongside customary laws. Principally in its modernized and codified form, the tradition continued to spread and was received by other jurisdictions of the world during the period of European colonization.
Two main characteristics emerge from a simplistic description of the legal methodology characteristic of civil law: “The parameters of the civil law are limited to areas of private law and do not extend to public law, commercial law, or penal law”; and “the analysis of case law” [here referring to Louisiana but where it has much in common with other jurisdictions] does not equate to adoption of the common law concept of stare decisis, where a single case dictates the outcome of a later dispute, but may be perfectly consistent with the doctrine of jurisprudence constante, where a case may be used to discern a pattern that may aid in interpretation" [italics mine]. Kathryn Venturatos Lorio, The Louisiana Civil Law Tradition: Archaic or Prophetic in the Twenty-First Century? 63 LA. L. REV. 1, 6 (2002).
Some common effects of civil law systems on the family are to create a regime of community property for marriage (creating property rights equal and of the whole for partners regarding property deemed to belong to the marital community), forced heirship (mandates a portion of an estate to certain heirs, commonly children up to a certain age), and aspects of filiation or adoption (including rules about inheritance for natural children).
Characteristics of a common law system: "Common law is the legal tradition which evolved in England from the eleventh century onwards. Its principles appear for the most part in reported judgments, usually of the higher courts, in relation to specific fact situations arising in disputes which courts have adjudicated. The common law is usually much more detailed in its prescriptions than the civil law." William Tetley, Mixed Jurisdictions: Common Law v. Civil Law (Codified and Uncodified), 60 LA. L. REV 677, 684 (2000).
Some effects of common law systems within family law include similar core concepts shared with the civil law through the adoption in medieval England of canon law and equity principles to govern the application of law to the family. Marital property, legitimacy, and the evolving notion of the family and its contractual aspects regarding marriage proper are areas where common law originally vested greater rights in the male head of household.
For an excellent guide to “the most important challenges and recent developments in the field of transnational litigation, including mechanisms for international judicial cooperation and assistance, provided by regional and international arrangements such as the Hague Conventions on service, evidence, apostilles, choice of court agreements, and the enforcement of judgments, as well as regional arrangements within the OAS and the EU” see David P. Stewart, David W. Bowker (revising & updating work of Bruno A. Ristau), Ristau’s International Judicial Assistance. 2d ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021.
Greater autonomy and contractual rights in marriage as well as inheritance may have opened the door more readily to non-traditional partnerships.
- A core title is the serial The International Survey of Family Law, The Hague; Boston: M. Nijhoff; Cambridge, MA, U.S.A: Sold and distributed in the U.S.A. and Canada by Kluwer Law International, 1996- current.
- For an excellent comparative overview see Arlette Gautier, Legal Regulation of Marital Relations: An Historical and Comparative Approach, 19 INT'L J.L. POL'Y & FAM. 47 (2005). (Includes several historical and current tables, such as one for "Changes in certain legal effects of marriage in 142 countries from 1938-2003")
- W. Piutens, International encyclopedia of laws: family and succession law. The Hague: Kluwer Law International, 1997- (loose-leaf or may be purchased in a searchable online format).
- International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 1996- .
For links to the constitutions of the world in a reliable internet source, and with a superb comparative chart feature for areas of constitutional law to view parallel topics as treated in two different countries’ constitutions, the best current source is Constitute, or the Constitute Project produced by the Comparative Constitutions Project at the University of Texas at Austin. In the concept filters, expand Rights and Duties to find Civil and Political Rights and listed are “right to found a family”, “right to marry”, and “rights of children”. Under Equality, Gender and Minority Rights will be found “equality of sexual orientation” and “provision for matrimonial equality”.
HeinOnline publishes the database World Constitutions Illustrated, and this is the best fee-based service, incorporating historic constitutions along with classic commentary and a vast digital library of related treatises.
For exact citations to national laws or specific code articles in the basic sources listed with below with online access, please consult Thomas H. Reynolds, Arturo A. Flores, Foreign law guide: current sources of codes and basic legislation in jurisdictions of the world [internet] [Berkeley, Calif.?: University of California], 2000-current. This is an excellent, fee-based web subscription database. In addition to general family law it covers citations and sources for abortion, adoption, guardianship, inheritance, and marriage. As with any one source, check the official legislative sites of jurisdictions for updates.
The Law Library of Congress maintains family law entries for the free Global Legal Monitor, including judicial interpretations of family law, tracking latest developments. Topics phrases include same sex marriage, marriage and family status, child custody, child support and children’s rights. Specific countries’ laws are cited and summarized. The Law Library of Congress also maintains an excellent blog, In Custodia Legis, updating legal developments in specific countries, authored by a legal specialist responsible for monitoring updates for countries in a particular region or language group, and many of these deal with family law.
The best source to update the information for countries below and for the family law conventions to which they may be a party is also from the Law Library of Congress: The Comprehensive Index of Legal Reports. These update treaties and legislation on legal topics; relevant to family law are Adoption, Custody, and Parentage, Education, Family, and Children's Rights, Marriage, Divorce, and Estates, Minority and Human Rights, and Immigration, Nationality, and Citizenship.
Links below are to constitutions and general areas of family law for selected jurisdictions. Please use the Global Legal Monitor and the Comprehensive Index of Legal Reports cited above to supplement and update the countries listed below, as well as non-Hague-member countries, for some areas, such as Provisions on Child Abduction.
- Constitution and civil code
- Caution: according to the Foreign Law Guide cited above, "the 1977 Civil Code specifically abrogates the Marriage law of 17 Asad 1350 (1971)”, but it is still listed.
- 1998 (rev. 2012) Constitution; there is also a civil code of 1994 and a family code of 2003 available in English.
- Constitution 1853 (reinst. 1983, rev. 1994)
- Civil code, revised as civil and commercial code (contains family law provisions)
- Constitution 1901 (rev. 1985)
- Family law acts at the federal level (many are matters of state law)
- Commonwealth of Australia’s Consolidated Acts
- Tasmania’s Act Legalizing Civil Unions
- Constitution 1920 (reinst. 1945, rev. 2013, English
- Civil Code (German)
- Registered Partnership Act (German)
- Constitution 1972 (reinst. 1986, rev. 2014)
- Bangladesh Law Translation Project (includes Oppression of Women and Children (Special Provisions) Act, 1995)
- Constitution (Plurinational State of 2009)
- Código Niña, Niño y Adolescente)
- Ley contra la violencia en la familia o doméstica (Law against violence against the family or in the home)
Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Constitution (1995, rev. 2009)
- Constitution (1988; rev. 2015)
- Civil code (in Portuguese)
- Statute of the Child and Adolescent, 1990
- Lei de divórcio, 1977
- Constitution 1992 (rev. 2008)
- Law on Marriage and Family
- Law on Inter-country Adoption 2009 (English)
- Constitution 1867 (rev. 2011)
- Divorce Act, 1985
- Civil Marriage Act, 2005 (integrates same gender marriage)
- Canadian Human Rights Act
- Constitution (1982, rev. 2004)
- Marriage Law of the People’s Republic of China
- Adoption Law of the People’s Republic of China
- Constitution (1991, rev. 2013)
- Civil Code (in Spanish)
- Law on the Female Head of Household (la mujer cabeza de familia) (1993)
- Code of Children and Adolescents (Spanish)
Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Code for Children and Adolescents (1998) (Spanish)
- Constitution 1958 (rev. 2008)
- Civil Code (in English)
- Code de l'action sociale et des familles (2010) (in French)
- Constitution 1949 (rev. 2012)
- Same-sex partnerships (2001) (in German)
- For a fairly exhaustive list of civil code sections on family law and German implementation of European and Hague conventions, consult the Foreign Law Guide cited above. See English translations of maintenance and obligations, but not all updated, at the German Law Archive.
- Civil Code (English)
- Constitution (1949, rev. 2015)
- Family and Inheritance Laws (vary by religious community affiliation, listed here)
- Family Courts Act (secular)
- Constitution 1945 ; (reinst. 1959, rev. 2002)
- Civil Code, Book One (secular re persons; (English) other laws based on religious community)
- Constitution 1979 (rev. 1989)
- Explanation of absence of a Constitution (Basic Laws are in place)
- Basic Law, Human Dignity and Liberty 1992
- Constitution (2010)
- Statutes such as Age of Majority (1974); Children Act (2001), Marriage etc. at Laws of Kenya database
- Constitution (1926, rev. 2004)
- Laws of Lebanon (Arabic) (note that personal laws, though not inheritance, apply based on membership in a religious community or sect thereof; English language primary sources not reliably available online)
- Constitution (1986)
- Constitution (1917, rev. 2015)
- Civil Code, federal (district model) (Spanish)
- National Statute for Development of the Family (Spanish)
- Constitution 1973 (reinst. 2002, rev. 2015)
- Child Marriage Restraint Act
- Dissolutions of Muslim Marriages Act
- Muslim Family Law Ordinance
- The Punjab Marriage Functions
- Constitution (1987)
- Family Code of the Philippines (ChanRobles)
- Laws on human trafficking (LawPhilProject)
- Constitution (Basic Law of Governance 1992, rev. 2013)
- Constitution (1996, rev. 2012)
- Children’s Act 2005
- Civil Union Act (same gender marriage)
- Recognition of Customary Marriages Act
- Constitution (1978, rev. 2011)
- Marriage law (same sex) (Spanish)
- Adoption (Spanish)
- Civil Code, Book I for persons (English)
Thailand [omitted family law reference]
United Kingdom (no written modern constitution; 1215 rev. to 2013 to cover Judicature and Constitutional Reform acts, establishment of a Supreme Court)
- Marriage (same sex couples) Act 2013
- Family Law Act 1986
- Adoption and Children Act
- Child Abduction and Custody Act
A Selected Bibliography of the Legal Literature
- Rutgers Law Library: Same-Sex Marriage Bibliography (updated through 2017)
- OutRight Action International (formerly known as International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission)
Marriage recognized and rights given as such (information from Global Legal Monitor cited above) and LGBT Rights by Country or Territory:
- Denmark and Greenland
- Mexico (in Mexico City, Campeche, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Colima, Jalisco, Michoacán, Morelos, Nayarit and Quintana Roo, as well as in certain municipalities in Guerrero, Puebla and Querétaro)
- New Zealand
- South Africa
- United Kingdom (England and Wales, Scotland)
- United States (state bans disallowed after U.S. Supreme Court so ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges, 6/26/15)
Civil Unions, domestic partnerships, and registered partnerships (with varying benefits and rights) available in:
- Australia: each state may create own versions
- Czech Republic
- Japan: selected cities and areas
- Netherlands: Aruba, Curacao, St Maarten
- United Kingdom: Northern Ireland and Jersey
OECD and UN distinguish between same-sex and opposite-sex marriages in employees regarding benefits, and does not offer them the same benefits. However, the World Bank does recognize domestic partnerships. Also useful: Human Rights Watch, Non-Discrimination in Civil Marriage: Perspectives from International Human Rights Law and Practice.
5. A Selection of Recent Relevant Articles and Books
These books, as well as articles from English language legal reviews, and in particular the source journals listed below, are examples of fruitful sources of information on international and comparative family law. The Library of Congress general heading is Domestic relations (international law):
Major reference works:
- Jürgen Basedow, Giesela Rühl, Franco Ferrari, Pedro de Miguel Asensiom eds. Encyclopedia of Private International Law. 4 vols. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, 2017. Covers topics in family and personal law among the many other topics of private international law, with relevant entries for this area from adoption to transsexuals.
Other general works:
- Roxana Banu, Nineteenth-Century Perspectives on Private International Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018. Seeks to locate “lost” relationship between private and public international law with both individualist and state-centered perspectives reviewed in the historiography of the period.
- Thomas John et al., eds. The Elgar Companion to the Hague Conference on Private International Law. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2020. Overview of the increasingly global reach of the conference beyond Europe and the initial focus on conflicts, applicable law, and enforcement of judgments to make contributions in cross-border legal cooperation, including via technology.
- Catherine Kessedijan, et al., ed., Private International Law Aspects of Corporate Social Responsibility. Cham, Switzerland: Springer, 2020. Business corporations and the human rights abuses of these legal persons.
- Gigliola, Di Renzo Villata, ed. Succession law, practice and society in Europe across the centuries. Cham, Switzerland: Springer, 2018.
- Louis Garb and John Wood eds. International Succession. 3d ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015.
- Birke Häcker and Charles Mitchell, eds. Current issues in Succession Law. Oxford; Portland, OR Hart Publishing: Hart Publishing, 2016.
- Butler, William Elliott. Russian Inheritance Law. Vol. 4. London, UK: Wildy, Simmonds & Hill Publishing, 2014.
- Current issues in succession law / edited by Birke Häcker and Charles Mitchell Oxford; London: Hart Publishing, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc; Portland, OR: Hart Publishing, 2016.
- Kathryn Venturatos Lorio, The Changing Concept of Family and its Effect on Louisiana Succession Law, 63 La. L. Rev. 1161 (2003).
- Miriam Anderson and Esther Arroyo i Amayuelas, eds. The law of succession: testamentary freedom: European perspectives. Groningen: Europa Law Publishing, 2011.
- Probert, Rebecca, ed., Family life and the law: under one roof. Aldershot, England; Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2007.
- Kris Bulcroft & Phyllis Johnson, A Cross-National Study of the Laws of Succession and Inheritance: Implications for Family Dynamics 2 J. L. Fam. Stud. 1 (2000).
- Tamar Ezer, Report: Inheritance Law in Tanzania: The Impoverishment of Widows and Daughters, 7 Geo. J. Gender & L. 599 (2006).
- Valerie Bennett, Ginger Faulk, Anna Kovina & Tatjana Eres and edited by Ginger Faulk, Report: Inheritance Law in Uganda: The Plight of Widows and Children, 7 Geo. J. Gender & L. 451 2006).
- William N. Eskridge and Christopher R. Riano, Marriage Equality from Outlaws to In-Laws. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2020.
- Sean Brady, ed. From sodomy laws to same-sex marriage: international perspectives since 1789. London and New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2019.
- Joel A. Nichols, ed. Marriage and divorce in a multicultural context: Multi-tiered Marriage and the Boundaries of Civil Law and Religion. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012.
- Kenneth M. Cuno, Modernizing Marriage: Family, Ideology, and Law in Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century Egypt. New York: Syracuse University Press, .
- Macarena Sáez, ed. Same Sex Couples, Comparative Insights on Marriage and Cohabitation Dordrecht: Springer, .
- Caroline Sörgjerd. Reconstructing marriage: the legal status of relationships in a changing society. Cambridge, UK; Portland, OR: Intersentia, 2012.
- Europäische Rechtsakademie Trier. Conference (2011: Trier, Germany). Cambridge, UK; Portland. OR: Intersentia, 2012
- Jennifer Brown, Rural Women's Land Rights in Java, Indonesia: Strengthened by Family Law, But Weakened by Land Registration, 12 Pac. Rim L. & Pol'y 631 (2003).
- Jens M. Scherpe, ed. Marital agreements and private autonomy in comparative perspective. Oxford; Portland, OR Hart, 2012.
- Katharina Boele-Woelki Angelika Fuchs, eds. Legal recognition of same-sex relationships in Europe: national, cross-border and European perspectives.
- Lynn Welchman. Women and Muslim family laws in Arab states: a comparative overview of textual development and advocacy. [Amsterdam]: Amsterdam University Press, 2007.
- Renee Giovarelli, Customary Law, Household Distribution of Wealth, And Women's Rights to Land and Property, 4 Seattle J. Soc. Just. 801 (2006).
- MA Abdulraheem-Mustapha, Child justice administration in Africa. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020.
- Esther Erlings, Religious rights within the family: from coerced manifestation to dispute resolution in France, England and Hong Kong. Abingdon, Oxon; New York, NY : Routledge, 2020.
- Rosalie Silberman Abella, Jocelyn Plant, The Hague Convention and Transnational Custody Disputes, Family Court Review (Early Version of Record online:
- 11 March 2021) https://doi.org/10.1111/fcre.12559
- Laura Westra, Child Law: Children’s Rights and Collective Obligations. Cham, Heidelberg; New York; Dorcrecht; London: Springer, 2014.
- Nevena Vučković-Šahović The Rights of the Child in International Law: Rights of the Child in a Nutshell and in Context. Bern: Stampfli, 2012.
- Suhraiya Jivraj, The Religion of Law; Race, Citizenship and Children's Belonging. Houndsmill, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.
- Michael Freeman, ed. Children's health and children's rights. Leiden; Boston: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2006.
- Clark Butler, ed. Child rights: the movement, international law, and opposition. West Lafayette, Ind.: Purdue University Press, 2012.
- Commentary on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child: multivolume series (various titles and authors per articles considered) Leiden; Boston: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2006-(2008 and ongoing; vols. for 2012 include arts. 5, 17, 32 and 33).
- Eliminating corporal punishment: a human rights imperative for Europe's children. Strasbourg: Council of Europe Publishing, 2005.
- Farhad Malekian and Kerstin Nordlöf, eds. The sovereignty of children in law. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars, 2012.
- Feria T Mónica, the landmark rulings of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights on the rights of the child: protecting the most vulnerable at the edge. Leiden; Boston: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2008.
- International child law / Trevor Buck. London; Portland, Or: Cavendish, 2005.
- Jurisprudence on the rights of the child / Cynthia Price Cohen. Ardsley, NY: Transnational Publishers, 2005.
5.4. Multicultural Jurisdictions, General Family Law, Selected Jurisdictions
- Anselmo Reyes, ed. Recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters. Oxford; London; New York : Hart, 2019. (focus on Asia).
- Jens M. Scherpe, ed. European Family Law. 4 vols. (I-III, IV projected), Cheltenham UK: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2016- .
- John Eekelaar and Rob George, eds Routledge Handbook of Family Law and Policy. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2014.
- Elisa Giunchi, ed. Adjudicating family law in Muslim courts. Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon; New York: Routledge, 2014.
- Frederik Swennen, ed. Contractualisation of family law: global perspectives Cham; Heidelberg; New York; Dordrecht; London: Springer, .
- Jill Elaine Hasday. Family Law Reimagined. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2014.
- Katharina Boele-Woelki, Nina Dethloff, Werner Gephart, eds. Family Law and Culture in Europe: Developments, Challenges and Opportunities (Conference) (5th: 2013: Bonn, Germany) Cambridge, United Kingdom; Antwerp [Belgium]; Portland [Oregon]: Intersentia, .
- Ziba Mir-Hosseini ... [et al.] eds. Gender and equality in Muslim Family Law: Justice and Ethics in the Islamic Legal Tradition. London: I.B. Tauris; New York, NY: Distributed in the U.S. and Canada by Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.
- Anver M. Emon, Mark S Ellis, Benjamin Glahn, eds. Islamic law and international human rights law: searching for common ground? Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.
- Archana Sridhar, The Conflict Between Communal Religious Freedom and Women's Equality: A Proposal for Reform of the Hindu Succession Act of 1956, 20 Berkeley J. Int'l L. 555 (2002).
- Family & court: legal culture and modernity in late Ottoman Palestine / Iris Agmon. Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 2006.
- J. Meeusen [et al.] (eds.), International family law for the European Union. Antwerpen: Intersentia, 2007.
- Kathryn Venturatos Lorio, The Romanist Tradition in Louisiana: Legislation, Jurisprudence, And Doctrine: A Symposium: Roman Sources and Constitutional Mandates: The Alpha and Omega of Louisiana Laws on Concubinage and Natural Children, 56 La. L. Rev. 317 (1995).
- Mary F. Radford, 2000, The Inheritance Rights of Women Under Jewish and Islamic Law, 23 B.C. Int'l & Comp. L. Rev. 135 (2000).
- Michael J. Broyde and Michael Ausubel, eds. Marriage, sex, and family in Judaism. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2005.
- Philip Alston and Ryan Goodman. International human rights: the successor to international human rights in context: law, politics and morals: text and materials. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.
- Ralph C. Brashie, Successions and Donations: A Symposium: Protecting the Child from Disinheritance: Must Louisiana Stand Alone? 57 La. L. Rev. 1 (1996).
- Rubya Mehdi, Werner Menski & Jørgen S. Nielsen, eds. Interpreting divorce laws in Islam. Copenhagen: DJØF Pub., 2012.
- William E. Butler, Russian Family Law. London: Wildy, Simmonds & Hill Publishing, 2015.