Amsterdam Centre for European Law and Governance

The regulation of transnational families in European migration law

01Oct2013 15:00 - 16:00


Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights guarantees the right to family life. Betty de Hart analyzes the case law of the European Union with respect to family reunion, focussing on the role of the insider with family members in third countries.

Joseph Carens has formulated three moral principles for family reunification policy of liberal states: 1. Family reunification is about the moral claims of insiders, not outsiders; 2. people have a deep and vital interest in being able to continue living in a society where they have settled and sunk roots. 3. no one should be forced by the state to choose between home and family. In a 2009 article analysing the European Court of Human Rights’ case law on Article 8 ECHR (right to family life), Betty de Hart put these principles to the test. She came to the somewhat sobering conclusion that the interests of the ‘insider’ (citizen) spouse play a marginal role in the ECHR case law. In this presentation she will extend her analysis to the case law of the EU Court of Justice on family reunification by insiders with third country national family members.

The speaker

Betty de Hart is Professor of Migration Law at the Amsterdam Centre for European Law and Governance and Associate Professor at the Centre for Migration Law of Radboud University Nimegen. She is a legal scholar with an interest in sociology of law and  studies European and  national migration law in a broad sense, including admission and residence, nationality law, international private law. She does internationally-comparative, interdisciplinary, empirical and historical research on these issues. She is especially interested in the regulation of transnational families.


Attendance is free of charge. For organizational reasons, please sign up for the meeting by sending an email to

Published by  ACELG