The fight against so-called “child marriage” has become a global desideratum doubted by few. UN and NGOs push for its abolition worldwide in order to protect girls and spur economic developments; European legislators are passing stricter laws to invalidate such marriages celebrated abroad. From the perspective of decolonial comparative law this is not unsuspicious: the concept of “child marriage” universalizes specific European concepts; the ban on early marriages exports specific European experiences; the invalidation of foreign marriages hurts the very people the law reforms aim at helping. To avoid both neocolonialism and moral relativism, a much more contextual approach is needed.

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Please note that the discussion group meeting is normally open only to researchers affiliated with the IECL or members of the Oxford Law Faculty. If you have a special interest in one of the topics being discussed and would like to request being admitted to the event as an outside guest attendee, please get in touch with Professor Birke Häcker in advance of the meeting.

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