WODC research International Child Abduction

UCERF researches have conducted research into International Child Abduction in collaboration with the DSP-groep. It concerned a process analysis and a comparative legal study of the current procedure of incoming applications of international child abduction as commissioned by the Ministry of Security and Justice. In late October, the research report ‘International child abduction The Current procedure of incoming applications in the Netherlands, England & Wales, Sweden and Switzerland’ was presented to the House of Representatives. Click here for the complete report (in Dutch) and a summary (in English).
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Annually there are approximately 50 incoming cases of international child abduction in the Netherlands. These are cases in which a child is unlawfully moved from abroad to the Netherlands. In light of (inter)national laws, the Netherlands is obliged to act with urgency in such cases. Since 2009 a number of important legislative amendments and policy changes have taken place to expedite incoming applications of international child abduction. The main changes were the changing role of the Central Authority (from legal representative to system coordinator), the concentration of jurisdiction in The Hague and the limitation of the right to appeal to cassation on a point of law. The research concerns the question whether these changes are implemented as envisaged and how the Dutch practical implementation compares to the implementation in other countries with a comparable system.

The research shows that the changes have generally been implemented as envisaged, in which it is evident that all parties endeavor to ensure that the procedure goes as well as possible for the parents and the child. However, in some respects the process can be improved, in which it is crucial that there is good coordination between the parties and that they are facilitated in their provision of services.

Improvements are possible on the following points:

  • Providing clarity about the obligations and responsibilities of the Central Authority.
  • Increasing transparency, both internally (particularly the Central Authority) and throughout the case process; on how the case is progressing and the detection of reasons for problems encountered.
  • Providing clarity about the role of the IKO-case number and the (financial) consequences for parents and professionals when the IKO-case number is missing.
  • Speeding up the duration of procedures in especially the first phase of the procedure.
  • More supervision and guidance at (involuntary) returns.

The research report will be also be published in early November by Boom Juridische uitgevers in the series Familie en Recht: M. Jonker, M. Abraham, C. Jeppesen de Boer, W. Van Rossum & K. Boele Woelki, Internationale kinderontvoering, De uitvoeringspraktijk van inkomende zaken in Nederland, Engeland & Wales, Zweden en Zwitserland. Den Haag: Boom Juridische uitgevers 2015.

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PhD Conferral Natalie Nikolina

On the 23rd of October the PhD defense of Natalie Nikolina took place in the Senaatszaal of the Utrecht University Academiegebouw at 2:30 pm. The dissertation, ‘Divided Parents, Shared Children. Legal aspects of (residential) co-parenting in England, the Netherlands and Belgium’, describes a socio-legal, comparative study into residential co-parenting in the jurisdictions of England, Belgium and the Netherlands. The research forms part of a major study into residential agreements and their effect on children and parents. Her book has been published in the European Family Law series and can be found here.



Symposium on the introduction of a limited community of property in the Netherlands

The legislative proposal for the introduction of a limited community of property in the Netherlands has lead to quite some discussions within family law. On the 22nd of May 2015 the symposium ‘Introduction of a limited community of property in the Netherlands: Comments from abroad, legal practice, politics and academia’ took place in Utrecht organised by UCERF in association with the open access forum Familie & Recht, the notarial course Utrecht and the Notarieel Instituut Groningen. Chaired by Katharina Boele-Woelki, the afternoon was  split into two parts.

The first part of the afternoon had a comparative legal perspective. Prof. Leon Verstappen (RUG) started by presenting the Dutch legislative proposal including his proposals for amendments. The issues raised in legal literature were then discussed from the perspective of three European countries. Prof. Charlotte Declerck (Universiteit Hasselt/Leuven) commented from a Belgian perspective, Rechtsanwalt Wolfgang Eule (Kanzlei Eule & Dr. Tangenberg) from a German perspective and Mia Reich-Sjögren (Lawyer in Göteberg) from a Scandinavian perspective. All three speakers illustrated how in their respective countries the raised issues formed, or totally did not form, a problem.

In the second part of the afternoon there were reactions from legal practice, politics and academia. mr. Foort van Oosten, co-initiator of the legislative proposal and Member of Parliament for the VVD reacted from the political viewpoint. From legal practice, notary mr. Peter Blokland (Daamen de Koort van Tuijl Notarissen) and lawyer mr. Thomas Subleack (Banning Advocaten) spoke about the pros and cons of the legislative proposal.



Comparative African Legal Studies

Katharina Boele-Woelki started a new book series last year with colleagues from South-Africa. The aim of the series is described as follows:
The series Comparative African Legal Studies (CALS) aims to profile research in the fields of children, youth, families, gender, disability, education and socio-economic rights. The focus will be on contemporary issues in African development, with human rights as a backdrop. Although primarily concerned with law, a multidisciplinary approach will be undertaken. 
The first book in the series is written by Maria Usang Assim (Understanding Kinship Care of Children in Africa). She visited UCERF for three months in 2013. The series is published at Eleven Publishing. You can purchase the book series here.

d679924c-61af-4dc0-8a9a-a73244097ffdFrom left to right: Prof. Benyam Mezmur (African Committee on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, Chair of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Professor University of the Western Cape); Julia Sloth-Nielsen (African Committee on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, Professor University of Western Cape & University of Leiden); Danwood Mzikenge Chirwa (Professor University of Cape Town); Katharina Boele-Woelki (Professor Utrecht University & University of the Western Cape).



Report for the European Parliament on the implementation of Directive 2006/54/EC

Dr. Susanne Burri was commissioned by the European Parliament to write a report on the implementation of the so-called Recast Directive (Directive 2006/54/EC). In the report she discusses legal aspects of the implementation, in particularly regarding direct and indirect discrimination. On the 31st of March Susanne Burri presented the most important recommendations from the report to the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality. Read her report here.