Comparative Family Law Methodology Week

A weeklong event on Comparative Family Law Methodology organised by the President of Bucerius Law School, Professor Boele-Woelki, took place in October.

Under the auspices of the International Academy of Comparative Law, Katharina Boele-Woelki and Alexandre Senegacnik (Science Po) organised an event lasting an entire week (18-22 October 2021) on the topic “Comparative Family Law Methodology”.

New online format due to the pandemic

Given the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, the Academy decided to use a new online format consisting of five sessions which started each day at 6pm and lasted only 75 minutes. For the discussions, 10 papers were selected after the Academy made a call for their submission.

The papers were authored by 12 researchers from Cameroon, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Uganda, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. No presentations took place, since the papers were made available on the Academy’s website. A few authors used the opportunity to give three-minute presentations, which were also available online before the week started.

Six discussants from France, Germany, the Netherlands/Russia and Ethiopia/South Africa gave feedback on the papers.

The topics covered were very diverse, ranging from “Surrogacy in China and Italy” to “Cyprus Matrimonial Law” and “Islamic Family Law”.

Keynote speech at the beginning, concluding with a roundtable

The week started on Monday with a keynote speech delivered by Professor Rhona Schuz from Israel on “Comparative Family Law and the Work of the Hague Conference on Private International Law” and ended with a roundtable on Friday with all authors and discussants. At this last session, the key methodological questions in conducting comparative family law research were identified. At the very end, Professor Boele-Woelki bid farewell to all participants.

Materials available online

The keynote and all papers, as well as the three-minute presentations, are available at After amendments based on the feedback of the discussants have been made, all papers will be published electronically on the Academy’s website as part of its open access publication Ius Comparatum on comparative law methodology.


Arne Lemke