The Concept of family in Lithuanian law.
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Recognition of the status of family in the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania mandates the state authorities to care and provide for the family, to ensure the family members’ constitutional rights, and to ensure respect for family life. Such duties fall on both, the legislative and executive authorities. However, the enforcement of constitutional imperatives is not straightforward. One reason for this is that the Constitution does not contain any legal definition of ‘family’ or ‘family members’. Nor does the jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania reveal the content of these notions. This, in turn, allows for various interpretations as to the scope of duties of state authorities and state attitude towards the family in general. In this context, the article aims to present approaches to the legal concept of family in Lithuanian legal doctrine, positive law and court practice. First, the article analyses the constitutional background of the concept of family and presents an overview of the ongoing political debate concerning this concept. Second, we analyse Lithuanian legal doctrine, scanty as it may be on this issue. Third, we examine the legislative specifics and the case law developed by the country’s highest judicial bodies with regard to the legal definition of ‘family’ and ‘family members’ in order to assess their impact on the state family policy in general.
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