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Should the current formal procedural position and hearing rights of minors be extended?

Minor’s hearing rights

Together with a multidisciplinary research team from Leiden University and the WODC, we are investigating the civil procedural position of minors. Our goal is to determine to what extent the current legal position of minors in Dutch family law is in conformity with neuro-psychological insights.

Commissioned by the WODC (Scientific Documentation Center of the Ministry of Justice and Security), researchers from Peadagogics, Law and Psychologyinvestigate whether the current formal procedural position and hearing rights of minors should be extended and adjusted. The project addresses the neuropsychological, pedagogical, organizational, financial and legal advantages and disadvantages of this and how minors should be supported in civil proceedings.

In more detail, current practice with regard to the formal procedural position, including the hearing of children, will be outlined. Special attention will be paid to the pilot of the Amsterdam Court to hear children from the age of eight and to the pilot of the Court of The Hague to hear children from the age of six in child abduction proceedings and to receive a guardian ad litemfor children from the age of three. The research will focus on three themes within Family Law, namely descent and adoption (1), custody, divorce, parental authority and visitation rights (2) and child protection measures (3). In addition to literature research, questionnaires, interviews, focus groups and expert meetings will be used as research methods. Attention will also be paid to the opinions and experiences of adolescents.

Collaborators:Daisy Smeets (Leiden University), Lenneke Alink (Leiden University), Judi Mesman (Leiden University), Apollonia Bolscher (Leiden University), Renske de Boer (Leiden University), Prof. Jaap Doek (Leiden University) and Prof. Mariëlle Bruning (Leiden University).

This project was sponsored by a grant from the WODC, awarded to Jiska Peper and Eveline Crone.