FAMIMOVE – FAMIlies on the MOVE: The coordination between international family law and migration law (2022)

FAMIMOVE is an international project co-funded by the European Commission under the JUST-2022-JCOO program. The project  aims to improve the protection of migrant children and families by bringing actual practice more in line with EU goals and values, such as the protection of fundamental rights and best interests of the child. It also seeks to provide more effectiveness to EU objectives through a better coordination of instruments in overlapping fields, such as Regulations in private international law in family matters and migration law rules.

The Consortium is coordinated by Prof. Marta Pertegas Sander (University of Maastricht) and is made of the following: Prof. Bettina Heiderhoff (University of Münster), Prof. Costanza Honorati (University of Milano-Bicocca); Prof. Fabienne Jault (University of Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines), Prof. Ulf Maunsbach (Lund University), Prof. Orsoyla Szeibert (Eötvös Loránd University) and Prof. Jinske Verhellen (Ghent University).

The Private International Law Institute at Ghent University (Prof. Jinske Verhellen and PhD researcher Leontine Bruijnen) coordinates WP4 of the project.

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Refugees in identity crisis (2021)

Refugees in identity crisis

The research will empirically investigate these pressing legal issues and aims at unravelling the interactions between migration law and private international law. To this end, the research first aims at mapping the legal problems related to refugees' personal and family status. In a second phase, it will investigate whether and how the mapping and the awareness of these interactions can lead to a better coordination of these two legal frameworks with the aim of enhancing the protection of refugees.

Researcher: Geertrui Daem

Promoter: Prof. Jinske Verhellen


The Private Side of Transforming our World - UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030 and the Role of Private International Law (2021)

Private Side of Transforming our WorldThis project is coordinated by Prof. Ralf Michaels (Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law), Dr. Verónica Ruiz Abou-Nigm (University of Edinburgh) and Hans van Loon (former Secretary General of the Hague Conference on Private International Law). It aims to raise awareness of the interactions between the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and private international law and to explore the possible contribution of private international law in this area.

In this regard, Prof. Sabine Corneloup (Université Paris 2 Panthéon-Assas) and Prof. Jinske Verhellen (Ghent University) have examined Target 16.9 of the SDGs, which aims to provide legal identity for all, including birth registration : Sustainable Development Goal 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions) and Private International Law.

Diversity-sensitive education at Ghent University (2021)
Diversiteitsgevoelig onderwijsWithin the Workgroup Divscan, the Faculties of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Medicine and Health Sciences, Arts, Philosophy, Psychology and Educational Sciences and Law Criminology join forces to offer diversity-sensitive and qualitative education. The goal is to develop a tool for lecturers and UGent employees and to set up a coaching process to use this tool. To this end, several conversation groups with students have been taken place.

Handbook for guardians of unaccompanied minors (2020-2021)

Handboek voor  voogdenOn behalf of the Ministry of Justice, Antigone Advocaten, Prof. Ellen Desmet (Ghent University) and Prof. Jinske Verhellen (Ghent University) are preparing the legal part of a new Handbook for guardians of unaccompanied minors in Belgium. This assignment builds on the book “Rechten van niet-begeleide minderjarige vreemdelingen in België” (Rights of unaccompanied foreign minors in Belgium).


CUREDI - Cultural and Religious Diversity under State Law across Europe (2018-ongoing)

CUREDIThis interdisciplinary project is coordinated by the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle, Germany and works with a network of scientific research teams. It holds a digital repository of cases that deal with cultural and religious diversity. The project looks at the question if and how diversity is granted legal recognition within the domestic legal systems of member states of the EU, UK, and Switzerland. More information is available here.
Yasmina El Kaddouri (2018-2020) and Frederik Welvaert (2019-2020) have contributed to this project through short research assignments.


BOF project I cross the border and carry with me… (2015-2021)

Ik steek de grens overCross-border civil status: a private international law issue from a human rights perspective.

The increasing mobility of people leads to the worldwide circulation of documents that record the civil status of people (e.g. birth, marriage, death). The recognition of these documents traditionally belongs to the field of private international law which aspires cross-border harmony and continuity in the life of people. A noble objective, yet hard to put in practice. As a result, some people carry a different civil status (e.g. unmarried) in their host country in comparison with the status in their country of origin (e.g. married). Such discrepancies – also called limping legal relations – generate legal uncertainty and unpredictability. This research aims to study a new approach to cross-border civil status. Departing from the right to respect for private and family life, the research will examine whether and to what extent the human rights approach is able to reduce the negative effects of limping legal relations (increasing the cross-border portability of a certain civil status).

Researcher: Sarah Den Haese

Promoter: Prof. Jinske Verhellen

Leerstoel Marcel Storme (2019)

Leerstoel Marcel Storme
In 2019, the Institute for Private International Law hosted dr. Susanne Gössl for the Chair Marcel Storme. You may access the slides of the lecture on 21 February 2019 titled “Questions of a “third sex“ in the international and European arena”,  here.

The interactions between PIL and Migration Law on the agenda of the European Parliament (2017)


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Cross-Border Proceedings in Family Law Matters before National Courts and CJEU (2015-2017)



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Defended doctoral theses