Doctoral Thesis Sarah Den Haese

Title: Crossing borders: proving your personal status. Interactions between private international law and human rights law.

Defended on 20 October 2021

The increasing mobility of people leads to the worldwide circulation of documents that record the personal status of people (e.g. birth, marriage, death). The recognition of these documents traditionally belongs to the field of private international law (PIL). This dissertation first maps the PIL rules applicable in Belgium and the Netherlands and scrutinises whether and to what extent human rights law and EU principles can support people to obtain or prevent the recognition of a personal status obtained abroad. Legislation, legal doctrine and case law from the ECtHR and the CJEU has been examined in detail. Subsequently, this dissertation looks into the application of this legal framework by Belgian and Dutch public servants and judges when they are confronted with a request to recognise a foreign marriage, legal parent-child relationship or kafala. A bilingual (Dutch/French) online survey was distributed among Belgian and Dutch public servants to find out more about their working methods. The approach of Belgian and Dutch judges was identified by analysing over 500 published and unpublished judgments.