SWEDEN AND THE HAGUE CONVENTION
Taken from the Swedish Central Authority
- The designated Swedish Central Authority to discharge the duties that are imposed by the convention is the Department for Consular Affairs and Civil Law at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
- Child abduction cases demand special knowledge of the substance of the Convention, and in foreign legislation. To make sure that the interpretation of the Convention is similar, there is much to suggest that the trial of cases regarding child abduction takes place in one designated court. Since first of July 2006, the Stockholm City Court is the only authorized Court to hear return applications. The appellate Court will be the court of Appeal (also in Stockholm), whose judgment can be appealed to the Supreme Court, if the Supreme Court gives leave to appeal.
- It is only family judges that hear cases regarding child abduction, but there is no limited numbers of family judges who have been appointed in hearing these cases.
- The court is obliged to handle the case with expedience. Cases should be dealt with within six weeks and in the event that the process lasts for a longer time the court is obliged to inform the applicant, upon his/her request, about the reasons causing the delay. The City Court can decide whether the decision should be enforced immediately upon announcement of the verdict or once the decision has gained legal force.
- In most Hague Convention Cases, the Court orders that the decision shall be enforced immediately, unless any of the parties has requested a stay of execution and that request is granted by the Court. A judgment gains legal force when the time- limit for appeal, three weeks, has expired. The appellate Court is the Court of Appeal whose judgment can be appealed to the Supreme Court, provided that the latter gives leave to appeal, which is done only in cases of precedential value. The Courts are obliged by law to give Hague Convention cases regarding wrongful detention or abductions priority. The applicant should receive a judgment within six weeks upon the Court's receipt of the application.
- The Swedish Children and Parents Code and the 1989 Act (section 17) recognizes, the child's right to have an opportunity to express his or her views during the procedure. This shall be done unless the court decides that it would be improper in respect to the child's age and maturity. This exception shall be interpreted strictly. As a general rule, the child shall be asked in a way that takes into consideration the child's age and maturity. The assessment of younger children's statements shall be made by people with certain knowledge in this area and it shall be dealt with in another way than when it concerns adults.
- In most cases the hearing of the child is conducted by social welfare board's social workers. There are no special rules how the hearing should be organized, and it varies depending on the age of the child, child's parent's mutual co-operation and other circumstances. Parents of the child are not normally present in the hearing. The social welfare board writes a report of the hearing, which will be sent to the judge.