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This book examines the potential impact of human rights in the way the law interacts with families. Traditionally family law has been dominated by consequentialist/utilitarian themes. The most notable example of this occurs in the law relating to children and the employment of the "welfare principle". This requires the court to focus on the welfare of the child as the paramount consideration. Hitherto the courts and, to a certain extent, family law academics, have firmly rejected the use of the language of rights, preferring the discretion and child-centred focus of welfare. However, the incorporation of the European Convention on Human Rights via the Human Rights Act now requires family law to deal more clearly with the competing rights that family members can hold. In addition, it is clear that, to date, the courts have largely ignored or minimised the different demands that the HRA imposes on the judiciary and, in particular, judicial reasoning. This book challenges that view and suggests ways in which the family courts may improve their reasoning in this field. No longer can cases be dealt with on the basis of a simple utilitarian calculation of what is in the best interests of the child and other family members - greater transparency is required. The book clarifies the different rights that family members can hold and, in particular, identifies ways in which it may be possible to deal with the clash of rights between family members that will inevitably occur. Whether this requires an abandonment of the utilitarian nature of family law, or a reworking of it, is a theme that runs throughout the book.
Shazia Choudhry is a Senior Lecturer in Law at Queen Mary College, University of London. --
Exploring the main developments and challenges for the right to family life in the context of European integration, this book examines the right to family life in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and the interplay between family life, citizenship, and free movement; it analyzes the combined impact of the EU and the European Convention on Human Rights on the concept of the family protected by the law in light of recent case law. Considering the broadening understanding of what constitutes family, the challenges for the right to family life in the context of immigration, and the protection of families and social rights it provides a comprehensive overview of the current state of family life in the European Union.
The Human Rights Act 1998 provides, for the first time, for the enforcement of the European Convention on Human Rights against a public authority directly, through any level of the domestic courts. Several Articles of the European Convention have been specifically drafted to deal with the rights of the family. Implementation of the Act will throw up a number of important issues for family lawyers, who must understand the scope of the Act or risk exposure to possible negligence claims. Family Law and the Human Rights Act 1998 explains the family-law related aspects of the Act and assesses the implications of the Act to family lawyers.
After more than 30 years of discussion, negotiations between the Council of Europe and the European Union on the EU's accession to the European Convention on Human Rights have resulted in a Draft Accession Agreement. This will allow the EU to accede to the Convention within the next couple of years. As a consequence, the Union will become subject to the external judicial supervision of an international treaty regime. Individuals will also be entitled to submit applications against the Union, alleging that their fundamental rights have been violated by legal acts rooted in EU law, directly to the Strasbourg Court. As the first comprehensive monograph on this topic, this book examines the concerns for the EU's legal system in relation to accession and the question of whether and how accession and the system of human rights protection under the Convention can be effectively reconciled with the autonomy of EU law. It also takes into account how this objective can be attained without jeopardising the current system of individual human rights protection under the Convention. The main chapters deal with the legal status and rank of the Convention and the Accession Agreement within Union law after accession; the external review of EU law by Strasbourg and the potential subordination of the Luxembourg Court; the future of individual applications and the so-called co-respondent mechanism; the legal arrangement of inter-party cases after accession and the presumable clash of jurisdictions between Strasbourg and Luxembourg; and the interplay between the Convention's subsidiarity principle (the exhaustion of local remedies) and the prior involvement of the Luxembourg Court in EU-related cases. The analysis presented in this book comes at a crucial point in the history of European human rights law, offering a holistic and detailed enquiry into the EU's accession to the ECHR and how this move can be reconciled with the autonomy of EU law.
Is the unification and harmonisation of (international) family law in Europe necessary? Is it feasible, desirable and possible? Reading the different contributions to this book may certainly inspire those who would like to find the right answers to these questions.

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