Prof. Sanford Katz (Law), one of the nation's leading family law scholars, has been named a visiting fellow at All Souls College at Oxford University for the first half of 1997, one of 12 individuals worldwide so honored.
All Souls, established in 1438, is the "college without students" at Oxford, he explained, and is essentially a think tank where visiting fellows in the fields of law, literature, science, art, education and public affairs are able to pursue their research.
For Katz, that will involve the history of English family law, the roots of American family law. "I'm trying to search for a new definition of adoption and compare it to old legal notions of wardship in England," he said. Katz noted that the permanent faculty of All Souls College includes renowned family law scholars.
Katz, who has been on the Law School faculty since 1968, is the author of hundreds of articles and a major text book on family law. He is a former president of the International Family Law Society and past chairman of the family law section of the American Bar Association. Katz has written a number of federal statutes on adoption and termination of parental rights, and has worked with state legislatures in crafting laws that "humanize the divorce process," he added.
"I believe that the law should serve children and the thrust of my work is to find some reserve of humanity in the processes that deal with families and children," he said.
Katz is widely viewed as the architect of subsidized adoption - providing public funds to the adoptive parents of children with medical problems or histories of abuse. The funds help offset the considerable cost of their care and thus enhance the children's prospects for adoption.
"In the academic world, this is the crowning achievement," Katz said of his appointment. "I feel greatly honored and especially gratified for the support I have received through the years from the Boston College community, especially from my colleagues and the Law School deans."
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