With contributions of authors from all inhabited continents, one of the great benefits of the annual International Survey of Family Law is the opportunity to see the challenges of family law across the globe, a subject area that experiences continuous developments and renewal.
The themes of this 2018 edition, summarized briefly below, focus on human life ranging from procreation and birth to death and property left behind at death.
The contributions from Africa largely deal with pluralism as it affects children: the choices of accommodating informal and formal systems and the varying religious traditions of different populations. Despite these common threads, they address the problems caused by sentencing primary caretakers, of working with children in informal justice systems and of statutory marriage requirements.
The Asian contributions can be grouped together from methodological as well as subject protection. The Chinese contributions are both empirical, studying attitudes about intestate succession rules and child sexual assault. Two contributions, from Hong Kong and Singapore, treat process issues, cross-cultural mediation in Hong Kong and a unified family justice court in Singapore. The contribution from Japan reveals the shortcomings with respect to women's equality in new cases from the high court, while that from Korea presents a review of several recent developments from both a legislative and case law perspective. The contribution from Myanmar, the Survey's first, addresses the development of marriage under the country's customary law, whilst the contribution from the Indian subcontinent discusses its treatment of family privacy.
The Survey includes several contributions from Europe and, like the EU itself, are varied. The Albanian contribution involves cross-border issues considered by local legislation and the ECtHR, the Belgian contribution reviews treatments of marriage, paternity, nonmarital relationships and child maintenance. The contribution on England and Wales treats various issues surrounding procreation: contraception, abortion, and sterilization. The German contribution is also a survey of developments in marriage equality, prevention of child marriage, paternity and sperm donation. The contribution from Ireland considers cases and legislation promoting homemaking, despite shift ing social norms, whilst the authors for Italy and Portugal look at the regulation (or not) of domestic robots and incompetent adults respectively.