New changes regarding the enforcement of the Hague Convention in Poland – mandatory legal representation by an attorney or legal counsel

From August 27, 2018, there will apply new provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure in Poland, changing the rules of the procedural mandate regarding matters related to the Hague Convention – introducing obligatory legal representation of the Applicant by an attorney or a legal counsel. There has been added a new legal provision to the Code of Civil Procedure, namely article 5782.

In Poland, in accordance with the new amendments to the Code of Civil Procedure in the proceedings for the return of a person subject to parental authority, carried out under the 1980 Hague Convention, there is introduced a mandatory representation of the participants to the proceedings by attorneys or legal counsels. The new provision will not apply to the application to initiate the proceedings in cases concerning the return of a person subject to parental or custody authority under the 1980 Hague Convention only in the proceedings for exemption from court costs and for the appointment of a lawyer or a counsel, and when a participant to the proceedings is: a judge, prosecutor, notary public, professor or habilitated doctor of legal sciences, advocate, legal advisor or counselor of the General Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Poland.

The purpose of the Hague Convention is to counteract the negative effects of international abduction or detention of children. Proceedings initiated under the provisions of the Convention are to aim to the restoration of the factual and legal situation that existed before the unlawful abduction or detention of a child. An abduction or detention of a child is unlawful within the meaning of the Convention if there has been a breach of the right to custody granted by legislation (a judicial or administrative decision or amicable settlement) of the State where the child was habitually resident immediately prior to the removal or detention and if at the time of the abduction or detention this right was effectively carried out. The applications for a return of a child made under the provisions of the Convention are recognized by the competent authorities (courts or administrative bodies) of the country to which the child was abducted or where the child was detained.