When foreign law isn’t argued, what do you do?

The case of BJZ, Petr [2009] CSOH 136 is an interesting decision by Lady Smith in the law of child abduction, and adds to the jurisprudence on the Hague Convention on Child Abduction as the petitioner is a public authority, the Dutch Youth Welfare Organisation petitioning for return of a child under the Convention.

A Hague Convention application is usually based on a court order for custody. However, in this case, Lady Smith rejects the purported order presented to the court as it was not properly authenticated – see paras [7] to [9].

Lady Smith notes that the purported order refers to provisions of the Dutch Civil Code, but not in a manner that explains the import of the order – and to understand the provisions she notes that in order to examine the provisions of the Code she had to resort to research on the internet (para [10]) as no explanation on the provisions of Dutch law was forthcoming from the petitioners.