Vol. 8.2 June 2004

Southern European Countries Join the Club

Cristina González Beilfuss, Parejas de hecho y matrimonios del mismo sexo en la Unión Europea (Madrid/Barcelona: Marcial Pons, 2004), 234 pp., ISBN 84-97-68111-8, EUR 23.99.

Emanuele Calò, Le convivense registrate in Europa (Milan: Dott A. Giuffrè Editore, 2000), 171 pp., ISBN 88-14-08144-1, EUR 12.91.

The ever-increasing number of countries, regions and states to have introduced schemes for non-marital registered relationships is mirrored in the ever-increasing plethora of literature published on the topic. As of today, eleven European Union Member States have introduced or are considering proposals to introduce such schemes. Attention is beginning to shift to the private international law implications of such schemes. The progressively more complicated situation in Spain has recently received attention from Dr. Cristina González Beilfuss. Her book concentrates on the private international law aspects of the various forms of registered partnership to have been introduced in Europe, including the various forms of parejas registradas in eleven regions of Spain. However, as with any study of private international law, attention must also be devoted to the substantive law regimes in question. Accordingly, Chapter I deals with the substantive law issues in relation to the establishment of, the rights and duties attached to and the dissolution of registered partnerships. In this respect, the Scandinavian countries, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Portugal and Spain are all dealt with. The speed at which developments in this field are taking place coupled with the diversity of the schemes available necessitates up-to-date information, which is accordingly provided in this recent publication.

In the second half of the book, attention shifts to private international law problems and associated solutions. In first dealing with private international law in relation to the establishment of registered partnership, González Beilfuss addresses the situation in the Nordic countries, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Spain. The private international law rules in relation to both patrimonial and non-patrimonial rights and duties are dealt with in Chapter IV. This section includes in particular reference to the various rules on maintenance, name law and inheritance law. The dissolution of such relationships is dealt with in the concluding chapter to this book. Jurisdictional competence and the relevant choice of law rules in this field are compared and discussed.

Even in Italy, where no scheme for registered partnership has yet found legislative backing, attention is being drawn to the situation abroad. The book by Emanuele Calò affords the reader a rare glance of the Italian perspective on this important familial phenomenon. Chapter I is devoted to a European panorama with Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Portugal being dealt with in varying degrees of detail. Again, the private international law problems are given centre stage and form the backbone of Chapter II. Those requiring Italian translations of the various national legislative enactments are encouraged to refer to Chapter III, which provides the translations of the legislation which introduced statutory cohabitation into Belgium, registered partnership into Denmark, Iceland, Norway, the Netherlands and Sweden, the civil solidarity pact into France and stable unions into Catalonia, Spain. Both these books provide added guidance to this increasingly intricate and complicated field of international family law.

Ian Sumner,
PhD Researcher, Molengraaf Institute for Private Law, Utrecht University

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