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Dr Myriam Hunter-Henin
  • Reader in Law and Religion and Comparative Law
  • Faculty of Laws
Myriam Hunter-Henin joined the Faculty in September 2003. She was formely a researcher and lecturer at Paris I (Pantheon-Sorbonne). Her main interests are Comparative Law, Family Law, Law and Religion, Private International Law and Bioethics. Her work addresses the implications of human rights in the private sphere, especially the challenges posed to the legal theory of Conflict of Laws and to traditional concepts of family law such as marriage and motherhood. It also addresses the interaction and tensions between law and religion in the sphere of education and family law in a comparative perspective.

She is currently Director for the Faculty's  European Double Degree Programmes and co-Director of the Institute of Global Law.

She is also a Fellow of the Comité français de droit international privé in Paris, France, and External Examiner for the University of Exeter.

Research Summary

Pour une redéfinition du statut personnel, PUAM (Presses universitaires d’Aix-Marseille), 2004, 537 pp .
Under French Private International Law, personal status has traditionally included all issues of family law and individual status. But this rather wide scope is now being increasingly cut down. The category of personal status is now usually broken up into more specific questions – divorce, filiation, maintenance obligations etc., each provided with their own connecting factor. Besides, rules of conflicts are somewhat dismissed by EU legislation and the European Convention on Human Rights in favour of a more substantive approach, directly guaranteeing the application of a common set of values instead of a particular law. The aim of the thesis is to suggest a possible rediscovery of personal status as a useful and coherent legal category. It therefore explores the impact of human rights and EU Law on the reasoning of Private International Law and Comparative Law. The solutions suggested apply to international family relations. The issues of registered partnerships, international adoption and abduction cases, divorce and marriage are addressed in depth both from a Private International Law and a (mainly French) domestic perspective.

Teaching Summary

I have taught on and organised all courses on French Law since my appointment in September 2003. These include : two first year courses (Introduction to French Law and French Public Law) of one term each  and two second year courses (French Contrat and French Tort Law) of one term each.

I have convened the ELS course – European Legal Studies course- since January 2008. This has implied coordinating the Foreign legal sections of the course : Italian Law (until 2011), German law, Spanish Law and French law so as to make sure that requirements and expectations were comparable across all foreign law sections and yet also adequate for students’ respective chosen jurisdictions of study in their year abroad or, in the second part of their studies abroad in the case of double degree students. My duties as course convenor have also entailed taking responsibility over the general comparative law part of the course, a component which was taught in English to all second year ELS students until 2011.The guiding principles were to aim at building bridges between the various foreign sections of ELS. Rather than a world wide perspective on Comparative Law and Law in general (at the time available through the course of World Legal Orders to all first year students), the course therefore focused on European legal systems and on aspects taught in the foreign law parts, namely contract and constitutional law principally.

The input of visiting professors was a fantastic opportunity to exchange ideas on comparative law with European experts and to present UCL abroad as a platform for comparative law. In house, the experience strengthened ties between myself and colleagues : Professor William Twining ; Professor Andrew Lewis ; Dr Florian Wagner-von-Papp and Colm O’Cinneide.
I have added a comparative perspective to the LLM course on Family Law convened in 2008/2009 and 2010/2011 by Prof. Alison Dicuck and in 2009/2010 by Prof. Michael Freeman. This entailed for example incorporating into the syllabus designed by the convenors sessions with a comparative perspective on adult relationships and on multicultural families (with added « law and religion » dimension for the latter).
Finally, I took advantage of the tool of Moodle to set up a bilingual forum and bilingual pairwork for first year French Law students. The learning objectives were to boost students’ confidence in the foreign language,  add a comparative twist to their studies, offer them time to reflect on one aspect of French/English Law, develop team work and enhance their precision in the use of legal vocabulary. It has also proven to be a way to address the diversity of linguistic abilities of students.

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