At the 6th CEFL Conference on Plurality and Diversity of Family Relations in Europe, the draft of the Principles of European Family Law Regarding the Property, Maintenance and Successions Rights of Couples in de facto Unions was presented. The day before the conference, this draft had been discussed at great length with CEFL's Expert Group, whose members had prepared the national reports. In the following we will provide a brief overview of the draft.
THE GENERAL APPROACH
Based upon a questionnaire containing 74 questions, CEFL's experts drafted 29 national reports. The questions addressed a few general issues (legal sources, historical developments and law reforms), statistics and estimations, issues that arise during the relationship, separation and death, as well as agreements between the partners and, finally, disputes. The comparative material was compiled in a book that was published in 2014. The drafting of the Principles took place at eight meetings of CEFL's Organising Committee, comprising seven members, four of whom are the authors of this contribution, plus Frédé rique Ferrand (Lyon), Maarit Jänterä -Jareborg (Uppsala) and Velina Todorova (Sofia). At these meetings the Principles were formulated, the relevant international and European instruments were analysed, the comparative overviews with references to all national reports were drafted and the comments which explain the Principles were designed and discussed.
The fifth set of CEFL's Principles of European Family Law consists of 27 Principles contained in seven chapters. The structure of the new set of Principles is comparable with previous sets of Principles. They start with a Preamble, followed by the first chapter on definitions and the scope of application. General rights and duties are then addressed. Agreements, property and debts, separation, death and disputes are the titles of the subsequent chapters.
During the drafting process of the Principles the terminology was changed. Initially, in the questionnaire and the publication of the national reports, the term ‘informal relationship’ was used. The term ‘informal’, however, is just the opposite of ‘formal’, which indicates marriage and registered partnerships and the like. More importantly the term ‘informal’ suggests that there is a lesser commitment by the persons involved, which, however, cannot be assumed.