Institute of Global Law

Institute of Global Law

LL.B.; PhD.; Qualified French Senior Lecturer in Private Law

contact details:
Tel: 020 7679 1490 | internal x21490
Email: m.hunter-henin@ucl.ac.uk

Myriam Hunter-Henin joined the Faculty in September 2003. She was formerly 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. On 15th April 2013, Myriam Hunter-Henin delivered the 2013 annual ICLQ lecture on religion, human rights and comparative law in the context of burqa bans.

She is currently co-Director of the Institute of Global law, Director of the Faculty’s European Double Degree Programmes and External Examiner for Exeter University.

She is also a Fellow of the Comité français de droit international privé in Paris, France, of the British Association of Comparative Law, of the Société de législation compare, Paris, France and of the Franco-British Lawyers’ Association.


  • Law, Religious Freedom and Education in Europe (ed.), Ashgate, "Cultural Diversity and the Law" Series, 2012
  • Reviews:

    • Helen Hall (2013). International and Comparative Law Quarterly, 62, pp 263-265
    • Nicholas Coulton (2013). Ecclesiastical Law Journal, pp 239-242
    • Eoin Daly (2013). International Journal of Children’s Rights
    • Nigel Fancourt (2013): Law, religious freedoms and education in Europe, British Journal of Religious Education, 35:2, 218-22
    • Lucian N. Leustean (2014). Law, religious freedoms and education in Europe, Journal of Church and State


  • Pour une redéfinition du statut personnel, Presses Universitaires d'Aix-Marseille, 2004, 537 pp.
    • The book was awarded the Dennery Prize by the Chancellerie de Paris for the best  piece  on  private international law of the year.

    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.

Articles and Book Chapters:

  •  “Believing in Negotiation: Reflection in Law’s regulation of Religious Symbols in State Schools”, chapter and section introduction to the legal section to be published in Negotiating with Religion, by Ashgate. forthcoming
  • “Law, Religion and the School”, chapter 17 in Silvio Ferrari, Handbook on Law and Religion, Routledge 2014.
  • “Why the French Don’t Like the Burqa: Laïcité, National Identity and Religious Freedom”, International Comparative and Law Quarterly, vol 61, August 2012 pp 1–27

Abstract: This article examines the controversies over and implications of the 2010 French ban on the covering of the face. It carries out an internal critique of the new law and, in a broader European context, questions its compatibility with the European Convention on Human Rights. It argues that the ban has strayed away from the confines of laïcité (the separation of State and religion in the public sphere) by encompassing activities and people who in no way emanate from the State. Far from being a flagship of a secularism ʻà la françaiseʼ or a French way of life, the ban - it is argued - goes against entrenched French legal traditions and unduly conflates the concept of national identity at the cost of individual liberties, thus forgetting the true goal of secularism: the conciliation of different beliefs and values. Assuming that the defence of secularism is nevertheless (for reasons we will explore) upheld by the European Court of Human Rights as a legitimate aim pursued by the law, the French ban it is argued is likely to fall foul of European requirements for lack of proportionality.

  • "Constitutional Developments and Human Rights in France: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back", International Comparative Law Quarterly vol 60, January 2011 pp 1–22.
  • "La Coutume dans tous ses Etats: Perspectives d'Outre-Manche", In Garnier, F. (ed.), La Coutume dans tous ses Etats. France: La Mémoire du droit, 2011
  • “Privacy” (with Colm O’Cinneide and Joerg Fedtke), in Encyclopedia of Comparative Law, Edward Elgar Publishing, London, 2012 (first edition 2006).
  • "Surrogacy : Is There Room for a New Liberty Between the French Prohibitive Position and the English Ambivalence?", in Law and Bioethics, Current Legal Issues, M. Freeman (ed.), OUP, vol. 11, chapter 18, 329-357.
  • "Unions de même sexe au Canada et au Royaume-Uni. Variations autour de la notion d’égalité. Réflexions de droit comparé à partir de l’affaire Wilkinson v. Kizinger." (2007) 9 RCLF 85-113.
  • "France. Horizontal Application of Human Rights in France. The Triumph of the European Convention on Human Rights”, Chapter 3: in D. Oliver and J. Fedtke (eds), Human Rights and the Private Sphere - A Comparative Study, Routledge-Cavendish, London and New York, 2007, pp.98-124.
  • “Droit des personnes et droits de l’homme: combinaison ou confrontation?”, Revue critique de droit international privé, 2006 IV, pp.743-1094.
  • "Concerns and Ideas About the Developing English Law of Privacy (And How Knowledge of Foreign Law Might Be of Help)" (with Basil Markesinis, Joerg Fedtke and Colm O'Cinneide), [2004] 52 The American Journal of Comparative Law 133-208.

Case Notes:

  • "La responsabilité des instituteurs: un îlot de subjectivité au sein du droit de la responsabilité du fait d'autrui", Recueil Dalloz 2002, n°19, p.1517.


  • UCL and France: Teaching and Research Collaborations, chapter 9 in Liverpool University Press (with Mike Wilson), 2011

Book Reviews:

  • Journal of Contemporary Religion Volume 29, Issue 1, 2014: Review of Jeroen Temperman (ed.), The Lautsi Papers: Multidisciplinary Reflections on Religious Symbols in the Public School Classroom, Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, Studies in Religion, Secular Beliefs and Human Rights 11 (2012)
  • International Journal of Discrimination and the Law 2012 12: 243: Review of Erica Howard, Law and the wearing of religious symbols: European bans on the wearing of religious symbols in education, Routledge 2012 (online version available at: http://jdi.sagepub.com/content/12/4/243)

Papers given at conferences :

  • Brookes University seminar: “Living Together in an Age of Religious Diversity”, Brookes University Oxford, 28 January 2015 (forthcoming)
  • Sakharov Debate, organized jointly by the European Parliament Office in London and the European Institute at UCL, “Human Rights and Religion”, Europe House, 3rd December 2014 (forthcoming)
  • Journal of Comparative Law Conference on Interdisciplinary Study  and comparative law, University of Notre Dame, London, 21 February 2014: chair to a panel on Anthropology and Comnparative Law
  • Halle, Department of Law and Anthropology in Halle (Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology), 27-28 November 2013: The relevance of Anthropology for Comparative Law
  • UCL, London, Law and Michael Freeman Colloquium, “Religious Freedoms in an Age of Equality”, 1-2 July 2014
  • Uppsala, Sweden, Conference on the “Impact of religion”, 20-22 May 2013: The Legal Regulation of Religious Symbols: New Definitions of Religion and Pluralism
  • ICLQ Annual 2013 lecture, 15th April 2013.
  • King’s College London, Conference on “Building Bridges”, 17th and 18th November 2012: Burqa Ban and Comparative Law
  • UCL, Laws, Conference entitled “From Theory to Practice: Religion and Discrimination in a Changing World, 8th November 2012
  • Centre for Research on Nationalism, Ethnicity and Multiculturalism (CRONEM), University of Surrey, 26th-27th June 2012: “The French Burqa Ban: A distortion of French traditions”.
  • UCL, Laws, Workshop on “Negotiating with Religion Conference”, 12th June 2012: “Believing in Negotiating: Reflections on Law’s Regulation of Religious Symbols in State Schools”
  • Surrey Law School, Guildford, Lunch seminar, 9th May 2012: “the French Burqa Ban: Perspectives from France and the European Court of Human Rights”
  • UCL, Laws, Lunch seminar, 8th February 2012: 'The French Burqa Ban & Rights in the Context of Social Life' (with Ronan McCrea).
  • Participation in a closed workshop at the British Academy to discuss the draft report by prof. Maleiha Malik on “parallel legal systems”, September 2011
  • Cardiff, LARSN Meeting, 17th May 2011: "Clashing Rights: The Path to Convergence on Religion and Education Issues in Europe".
  • Southampton, September 2010, BACL meeting (British Association of Comparative Law), "Additional Constitutional Review for France: A valuable addition to Human Rights Protection?"
  • SLS, Public Law Section, Southampton, September 2010, paper (with David Marrani) on "The French Conseil constitutionnel:: (finally) a new Supreme Court?"
  • Court of Appeal of Riom, International Colloquium on Customary Law organised by the Centre Michel de l'Hospital at the University of Clermont Ferrand for the 500th anniversary of Customary Law in Auvergne, June 2010 : "Customs and Common Law : Historical analysis and Law & Economics reflections on a dubious association".
  • University of Cardiff, LARSN (Law and Religion Scholars' Network), May 2010 : Chair to a panel on Religious Symbols
  • UCL, Public Law group (Prof. Dawn Oliver convenor), February 2010, Chair and discussant to a paper by A. Young and S. Boyron on the French constitutional reform
  • Maison française d'Oxford, Conference on French Law in the UK and Ireland, October 2009: "Changing Places"- Un enseignement de droit français déplacé?"
  • SLS, Comparative Law section, Keele, September 2009 : "Comparative Law and Multiculturalism"
  • Anglo-French Comparisons on Surrogacy, paper at the conference on Law and Bioethics, Current Legal Issues, organized by Prof. Michael Freeman, July 2007.
  • Horizontal Application of Human Rights and Party Autonomy, Lunch seminar UCL Laws, March 2006.
  • Indisponibilité, critère du statut personnel. Communications de Droit international privé des Universités Paris I et Paris II, March 2002.


  • Sir B. S. Markesinis: “Auto-suffisance nationale ou arrogance internationale? Le droit étranger et les notions contemporaines de justice devant le juge américain et le juge français", in Juges et universitaires face au droit comparé. Histoire des trente-cinq dernière années, Dalloz, 2006.
  • B. S. Markesinis: "Construction de systèmes et résolution de problèmes concrets : occasions manquées et naissantes pour une convergence méthodologique entre le droit français et le droit anglais", Revue trimestrielle de droit civil 2005, jan.-mars, pp.47-92.
  • B. S. Markesinis : "Deux cents ans dans le vie d’un code célèbre. Réflexions historiques et comparatives à propos de projets récents européens", Texte de la conférence donnée le 12 février 2004 dans la Grand’chambre de la Cour de cassation, Revue trimestrielle de droit civil 2004, jan.-mars, pp.45-60.

Organization of Comparative Law Conferences and Workshops:

  • Closing event on “Negotiating with Religion”, 1st May 2013, UCL, Laws. More details here http://negotiating-religion.eventbrite.co.uk/#
  • “Negotiating with Religion” in UCL Laws on 12th June 2012 as part of a series of workshops across UCL faculties. Please click here for more information on the June event and on the whole series.
  • Law, Religion and Education conference held in Oxford on 8th and 9th October 2010, co-organised by the Institute of Global Law and the Maison française d'Oxford. more details here
  • Seminar on Globalization, Prof. Jean-Louis Halpérin (ENS, Paris) as speaker, sponsored by the French Embassy, May 2009.

Current Teaching

Introduction to French Private Law
Introduction to French Public Law
French Obligation law

Co-convenor of the LLM course on Advanced Issued in Family Law: Globalisation, Multiculturalism and Religion.


  • First Supervisor to PhD on Exploring the Challenges of the Best Interest of the Child Principle in Neonatology: Perspectives from Comparative Law and Medical Ethics  (Jean-Frédéric Ménard)
  • First Supervisor to PhD on Divorce and the Conflict of Law rules in Cameroon (Dorothy Lekeaka Acha-Morfaw Ghogornu)


  • Masters research essay on legal translation (as second supervisor)
  • Member to jury panel for PhD on the concept of parenthood in English and French law, submitted successfully by Laure Montillet de Saint Pern in November 2014 in Paris II (first supervisor: Prof. Bertrand Ancel).
  • Member to jury panel and supervision on English Law for PhD dissertation on stepparents in English and French Law, submitted successfully in Paris II in November 2010 by Laure Sauvé (first supervisor : Prof. Gérard Champenois)
Dr Myriam Hunter-Henin welcomes approaches for supervision from prospective PhD students. Her expertise is in on Law and Religion in the spheres of  family law and education as well as on Family and Bioethics, with a Comparative and a Private International Law perspective.

This page last modified 5 September, 2014 by Laws Webmaster