News and events Tilburg University

Ian Sumner appointed as Professor of Private International Law and Family Law

Published: 19th March 2018 Last updated: 30th April 2019

PRESS RELEASE 19 March 2018 - Tilburg University has appointed Dr. Ian Sumner as Professor of Private International Law and Family Law. Sumner’s research deals with methods that might be used to improve laws and regulations governing cross-border family disputes. The chair is part of the Tilburg Institute of Private Law at Tilburg Law School.

Ian Sumner will focus on the coherence and consistency of national and international family law. In our present-day society, mobility is becoming increasingly important, especially as families are increasingly composed of partners and/or children from different countries or with different nationalities. As a result, cross-border family disputes are increasingly becoming an integrated part of the work of family law professionals. As a result of the numerous national and international instruments that apply to cross-border family situations, these families are often at a loss on how to proceed, as are the legal professionals that assist them. As a result, both adults and children oftentimes experience long-standing problems for example in the event of spousal or child maintenance or contact arrangements after a international divorce. Extreme examples include international child abduction or international disputes over visitation rights.

New solutions

The objective of Sumner’s research is to find new and better ways to solve cross-border family-law disputes, other than the national and international instruments currently available. International legal cooperation is currently extensive, but the existing regulations are often limited to specific fields of law and do not always apply to a variety of different elements in the same case. Sumner will study new solutions by adopting the child’s perspective, among other approaches.

Ian Sumner (1978) studied Law at Christ’s College, Cambridge (United Kingdom, 1997-2001), earned a PhD from Utrecht University in 2005, continued to work there as a lecturer, and was awarded a prestigious NWO Veni grant in 2008. He also studied Dutch Law in Utrecht (LLB 2012, LLM 2014) and works as a family court judge (deputy judge sitting alone) at the District Court of Overijssel in Almelo since 2014. In addition, Sumner runs a consulting agency in the field of national and international family law. He has been appointed at Tilburg University for two days week.

Note to editors