Family Law in Europe – Academic Network recognises the paramount importance of ratification by the European States of The Hague Convention on the International Protection of Vulnerable Adults


Family Law in Europe – Academic Network (FL-EUR) considers that there are compelling reasons for European States to adopt the 2000 Hague Convention 

FL-EUR was represented at the “High level Conference on Protecting Vulnerable Adults across Europe – the Way Forward”, held on March 30th 2021, organised by the Portuguese Ministry of Justice, with the support of the European Commission and the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), in line with the priorities set by the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The Conference dealt with fundamental issues of the legal protection of vulnerable adults, the need to ensure that they are enabled to exercise their rights, to defend their interests and to have equal access to justice in civil and criminal proceedings. One of the subjects that was particularly stressed concerns cross-border challenges faced by vulnerable European citizens, especially those with disabilities or of advanced age. 

FL-EUR is an academic initiative established in 2019 with the purpose of close academic cooperation in the field of family and law; the promotion of comparative and multidisciplinary research and education in the field of family and law, and providing up-to-date comparative data for European, supranational and national bodies. Fl-EUR currently unites 30 prominent experts, both academics and public officers, in the field of family & law from 28 European jurisdictions. Being well aware of the importance and urgency of improving national systems of measures of legal protection of vulnerable adults in line with the CRPD, FL-EUR has chosen as its first working field the “Empowerment and Protection of Vulnerable Adults”. It has already made quick-scans of the relevant legislation of 27 European Jurisdictions and is due to produce comprehensive National Reports in 2022.

FL-EUR is conscious of the importance of a common PIL framework, that will ensure not only the right of freedom of movement but also an effective protection and promotion of the rights of Europeans. Regardless of other (very welcome) developments at the European level, the 2000 Hague Convention is the instrument that is able to provide legal certainty, cross-border continuity of support measures and a framework able to respect the wishes and preferences of vulnerable adults. Unfortunately, given the small number of European States that have ratified the 2000 Hague Convention, we are still far from this ensuring scenario.

Following the appeal of Philippe Lortie, the First Secretary at Hague Conference on Private International Law, who, in the debate, has stressed the role of research and academic institutions in promoting the application of the 2000 Hague Convention, FL-EUR endorses this very important instrument.