New book on European family law

2 December 2019

Research in international demand in the field of family law has recently been collated in the book ‘Principles of European Family Law Regarding Property, Maintenance and Succession Rights of Couples in de facto Unions’.

More and more couples are living together and having a family without marrying or entering into a registered partnership. The vast majority of European legal systems apply general principles of property law to these relationships, which can have extremely adverse consequences in the event of separation, particularly for the woman. Nor does the Swedish Cohabitation Act (2003:376) offer any optimal solutions.   

The Professor of Private International Law and International Civil Procedure in the Department of Law, Maarit Jänterä-Jareborg has been analysing these issues for many years together with six international researchers, and has now collated the research results in the book ‘Principles of European Family Law Regarding Property, Maintenance and Succession Rights of Couples in de facto Unions’. It was recently presented by a group of representatives of the research group the Commission on European Family Law (CEFL) at a special symposium in Glasgow, Scotland. Professor Jane Mair, Glasgow University, arranged the symposium together with the Scottish Law Commission, the Scottish Parliament Policy Committee and the Family Law Society of Scotland, as part of an effort to inform and inspire the inquiry under way in Scotland on new legislation for cohabitation outside marriage. The responsible Commissioner, Kate Dowdalls, QC, expressed admiration for the outcome of six years of work, based on extensive comparative law studies relating to 29 European jurisdictions, and found them to be of great value for Scottish law reform.

Among the experts consulted in this extensive underlying comparative law study is Margareta Brattström, Professor of Private Law in the Department of Law of Uppsala University.


The research group CEFL was formed in 2001, with the aim of comparing and harmonising family law in Europe, through the adoption of European principles of family law as a model for legislation in various European countries. This is the research group's fifth set of principles to be published in book form. The group's work was recognised by the award of the EU Descartes Prize in 2010 for pioneering research. The research group is behind the European Family Law Series, with 46 books published to date.