The persons and family law is a part of the civil law relating to descent, birth, marriage and divorce and other matters relating to the capacity, family relations and capacities of persons. The law of succession is mostly regarded as a separate part of the law.
Both in Belgium and the Netherlands, the law of persons and family law are dealt with in Book 1 of the Civil Code, see Civil Code (the Netherlands) and Civil Code (Belgium). In addition, it forms part of the conventions such as the International Convention on the Rights of the Child. The most important rules for family law – which also has great importance in the Netherlands and in Belgium – are included in the European Convention on Human Rights, abbreviated as the ECHR. Especially the law on family life, Article 8 of the ECHR, has an enormous impact on jurisprudence and legislation.
The proceedings of the law of persons and family law takes up approximately half of legal business. It distinguishes itself from other parts of the law by the exceptionally large extent of privacy. In practice publicity of judgements does not apply to family law (ECHR – Judgement P&B versus United Kingdom).