On Wednesday 17 April 2019, during a meeting of D.I.A.L. Lawyers, the Liaison Judge of the District Court of The Hague gave a lecture about her work as a Liaison Judge.
The Liaison Judge is the connecting link between judges abroad and judges in the Netherlands. The Liaison Judges’ office is a help desk for judges in the Netherlands. If a judge somewhere in the Netherlands has a question about foreign law or of the state of affairs in a foreign Child Abduction Proceedings, he can ask the question via the Liaison Judge in the Netherlands. The Liaison Judge contacts her colleague in the relevant country to obtain the relevant information.
If there are two proceedings in progress in different countries, an Article 15 of the Brussels II bis regulation request can be made to have the cases referred to another court. The court can also do this ex officio.
Among other things, she said that in 2018 34 parental child abduction proceedings were conducted at the District Court in The Hague. Of these cases, 33 attended the preliminary hearings and mediation took place in 11 cases. Of these 11 mediations, five were completely successful and six were not.
In 2018 the return was rejected in only five cases. In two of these cases there appeared to be no kidnapping because there was a mutual agreement, in 1 case there was consent, 1 case was rejected on the basis of Article 13 paragraph 1b of the Hague Convention and 1 case on the basis of Article 13 paragraph 2 of the Hague Convention.
There are currently 10 judges that handle Parental Child Abduction cases judges.
In 2019, only a derivative round case and an ongoing case have taken place so far.
The District Court of The Hague has noticed that the time the abduction cases take longer than intended. This has to do with all kinds of different circumstances, which is undesirable. The six-week period is often not met because one of the parties needs a visa as well for the reason of more involvement of professionals, such as Child Protection and a Guardian ad Litem. The court discusses with the lawyers to see if this can be shortened.
Sometimes a party does not appear in court and that can have all kinds of consequences. For example, mediation cannot be carried out or is difficult, and contact with the left behind parent cannot be facilitated. It is possible to conduct the case via Skype, but due to the time difference this can lead to practical problems.
All in all, the Liaison Judge indicates that the specialized lawyers of D.I.A.L. Lawyers are well aware of the procedures which works well for the court. This makes it easier to come to agreements about the steps that need to be taken. D.I.A.L., as a specialist association, is therefore of great importance for both the litigant and the court.