The voice of the child in proceedings in Poland
There is no guardian ad litem in Polish legal system. Neither in parental abduction cases nor in family cases. Abducted child’s interest in Hague convention cases is compulsorily represented by the prosecutor. The prosecutor can also participate in other family cases before the court. In any proceedings, the prosecutor has the same rights as other parties.
According to Polish law the participation of the public prosecutor in family and guardianship law proceedings is indicated especially in cases:
1) for annulment and for establishing the existence or non-existence of marriage;
2) for the denial of paternity or maternity and for determining the ineffectiveness of acknowledgment of paternity;
3) for adoption by foreigners or Polish citizens with residence or habitual residence abroad;
4) for termination of adoption;
5) for the removal of a person subject to parental authority or under guardianship;
6) for termination of parental authority;
7) for an order prohibiting contact with the child;
8) for adoption of a child not reported to the adoption center.
Hague Convention cases
Returning to Hague convention cases – each party is asked at the beginning of the proceedings about the procedural position. In Hague convention cases usually the prosecutor refrains from taking a position until the conclusion of the proceedings. Frankly, this means nothing and is the typical way prosecutors handle Hague Convention cases. A prosecutor has no contact with other parties or the child himself – builds knowledge of the case on the basis of the case file and evidence presented by the parties.
It is also possible to ask the child ombudsman or the human rights ombudsman to participate in the proceeding. If the ombudsman agrees to take part in the proceedings, he becomes a party and has the right to present his own position, file an appeal or file a cassation complaint.
The voice of a child is an essential part of family cases (also in Hagie convention cases) The child can be heard during the proceedings by the judge (outside the courtroom, often in the presence of a psychologist). The judge can also ask for the OZSS (a special institution that assists the courts with psychological and pedagogical opinions about the family) opinion. On this basis, the judge can decide whether and to what extent to take into account the child’s wishes in deciding the case.
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