Encarna Roca

Family Law as a Right to Freedom: the evolution of Family and the recognition of gay marriage in Spain


Tuesday 17th May 2016



About the speaker: Prof. Dr. Encarna Roca is Magistrate of the Spanish Constitutional Court since 2012. Previously she was Magistrate of the Spanish Supreme Court (2005-2012). In 2011 she became the first woman to be appointed member of the Real Academia de Jurisprudencia y Legislación (Royal Academy of Jurisprudence and Legislation). In 1978 she became the first woman Full Professor of Civil Law in Spain. She has researched extensively in the field of fundamental rights and their application in Private Law and in particular in Catalan Civil Law.


About the event: Prof. Encarna Roca explained that in Spain, the traditional way in which to organise various family member roles has changed profoundly. Law has played an important role in this evolution promoting social transformations. Legislative solutions have involved a specific application of fundamental human rights individually recognised as such. There is a common denominator in all families: respect for citizens’ fundamental human rights, as members of a family unit, and, in turn, the enforceability of these rights in family relations. A paramount example is to be found in the legalisation of same sex marriage in 2005. Prof. Roca highlighted that Spain became a pioneer country in granting legal protection to new forms of family relationships. The constitutional validity of this type of union was upheld by the Spanish Constitutional Court in Judgment No. 198/2012, of 6 November.


The Madariaga Series would like to thank Prof. Roca for finding the time to come to Oxford and visit us. We would also like to thank Magdalen College for hosting the lecture, the subsequent dinner and for the financial support, as well.