Description and Purpose of the Academy

The International Academy for Study of Jurisprudence of the Family grew out of a "Symposium on the Jurisprudence of Marriage and Other Adult Intimate Relationships" that convened at Boston College Law School on March 13, 2009 and at the J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University on March 15, 2009. The symposium was jointly sponsored by Boston College Law School and Brigham Young University Law School. The participants (including conveners, Professors Lynn D. Wardle and Scott FitzGibbon) found the conference to be very valuable and began to consider forming a scholarly association that would address the foundational principles concerning families and the core principles regarding the legal recognition and regulation of families.

An international conference the following year, the "Symposium on the Jurisprudence of the Family" convened at Bratislava law School in Slovakia on May 28-29, 2010. The co-conveners were Professors Wardle and FitzGibbon and Professor Bea Verschraegen of the University of Vienna and of Bratislava Law School. Nearly two dozen papers were presented, discussing issues relating to the nature and purposes of the family and family law. That symposium prepared the way for the organization of a permanent international scholarly academy, which would pursue such topics through publications and further conferences. The participants in the Bratislava Symposium were encouraging about the possibility of forming such an institution, and consultative assistance and support was provided by others including Baroness Ruth Deech of Oxford University, Professor Sanford Katz of Boston College, Professor Robert Araujo, S.J., of Loyola of Chicago, and Richard Wilkins, Managing Director of the Doha International Institute for Family Studies and Development (DIIFSD). The DIIFSD also provided generous support for the Bratislava Symposium. (Additional financial assistance was provided by Boston College Law School and BYU Law School)

The annual international symposium in 2011 was held in two sessions. The first convened in May 12-13, 2011 at the Pontifical University of Buenos Aires, hosted by Professor Ursula Bassett. The second session convened on July 15-16, 2011 at the University of Malta (Valletta campus, Aula Magna). Both sessions in 2011 focused on the theme of Parenting and the Influence of Culture. Papers from those sessions were published in Volume Two of the International Journal of the Jurisprudence of the Family in the summer 2012.

The Doha International Institute for Family Studies and Development (now known as the Doha International Family Institute (DIFI), hosted the next annual international symposium on April 30- May 1, 2012 in Doha, Qatar. The theme of the symposium was on the Jurisprudence of Extended Families, Extending Families and Intergenerational Solidarity. Papers from that conference were published in Volume Three of the International Journal of the Jurisprudence of the Family in the summer of 2013.

The fourth annual international symposium of the International Academy for the Study of the Jurisprudence of the Family convened at Cardozo Law School of Yeshiva University in New York City on June 10-11, 2013. The topic of the symposium was on "The Jurisprudence of Family Relations: Privacy, Autonomy, and Should States Regulate Family Relations?" Papers from that annual symposium were published in the summer of 2014 in Volume Four of the International Journal of the Jurisprudence of the Family.

On June 9-10, 2014, the fifth annual international symposium of the International Academy for the Study of the Jurisprudence of the Family convened at the School of Law at the University of La Coruña, Spain. Professor Carmen Garcimartin was our gracious and considerate convener and host. The papers presented at the symposium addressed the topic of "Family and Religion: Juridical Dimensions." Selected papers from that symposium will be published in volume 5 of the International Journal of the Jurisprudence of the Family.

The purpose of the Academy is to foster thoughtful, careful consideration and discussion of the conceptual foundations of the institution of the family, including marriage, parenting, and extended family relations. The Academy also aims to explore the principles determining the eligibility for legal and social recognition of various family and domestic relations. The International Academy is intended especially to foster inter-faith, inter-cultural, inter-national, inter-community, inter-disciplinary, and inter-university dialogue about the core, foundational questions, concerns, issues and principles relating to families, familylife, and the legal regulation of families. The Academy and its symposia, conferences and publications will review the current status of family relationships in society and law, consider how such relationships may affect one another, consider the foundations for the legal recognition of relationships, and consider various relationship forms and in the light of basic legal and ethical principles. It will consider the cultural, social, and political influences upon family relations.

The International Academy for Study of Jurisprudence of the Family is established as an independent academic society. While initially, the academy was indirect supported by Brigham Young University and Boston College through their financial support of the first two symposia, and the furnishing of administrative support the Academy will not be located at or be an official part of any university. Of course, indirect support from various universities and law schools will continue (as for all academic societies) in the form of the unreimbursed time that faculty members who are officers of the Academy will contribute as they serve in official positions of the Academy.

The Academy will initially operate under the direction of the organizers, Professors Wardle and FitzGibbon, under the guidance of an Advisory Board of Directors. A strong effort will be made to compile a membership slate which is thoroughly international (not just North American and European) and include persons who have published scholarly works on basic questions relating to the family relationships and the law.

The Academy will publish a journal entitled "The International Journal of the Jurisprudence of the Family". This website contains a link to the website of that journal.

Among other possible activities of the new Academy after the conference, besides the convening of conferences such as the one described above, would be:

  • Regularly conducting a program of several days in length, including a one-day symposium and one or more courses of study;
  • Preparing modules of teaching materials, for use in courses at universities, dealing with the family jurisprudence and ethical thought;
  • Hosting website discussion blogs