Can I Appeal an International Hague Abduction Case Decision in Italy?
If you have already been through the Juvenile Court for the first trial (first instance) and your application for repatriation was denied then you may have the potential to appeal the decision of the lower court.
The loss of the first instance case can be devastating to a left-behind-parent. After all of the time, stress, effort and especially separation from your child or children, it seems like all hope is lost. This is not true. There is a very strong appeals process which you can do and that can change everything.
Your Hague International Abduction Appeal
You can appeal a decision by the court on such things as Habitual Residence, Acquiescence, and other issues.
Some key things to note are:
- In Italy appeals are not done in the Appeals Court (corte d’appello) but are done in the Supreme Court (corte suprema di cassazione)
- Appeals must be filed within 60 days of the decision of the lower court
- Your attorney must be authorized to try cases in the Supreme Court
Supreme Court appeals can easily take one year from the date of the lower court’s decision to be heard and you will not find out that court date until a short time before the hearing date.
At the appeal there will be the President and four other judges on a panel of five judges. The State Prosecutor will be there to state their interpretation of the applicable law. If the State Prosecutor believes that the lower court erred and that the child should have been repatriated, they can advise the court as to their views.
Attending the Hague Case Appeal
Your attorney will be present as will the attorney of the abducting-parent.
Parents are not allowed to attend.
One good thing is that you can ask your Central Authority (e.g. The US State Department) to send consuls from the Embassy to attend the court hearing. They will be there solely as observers but it can help to show that your country is behind you.
The fact that the Appeals Court is skipped and Hague Abduction Convention cases go directly to the Supreme Court means that neither side can introduce new evidence. Therefore it is vital that all key evidence be submitted during the first instance trial. The Supreme Court will only look at whether the lower court applied the law correctly.
For example: If the lower court decides that the abducted child was not resident in your State (e.g. The USA or Great Britain) because they lived outside of that State for some months) then the Supreme Court can determine if the law in Italy allows for those three months to be sufficient to be considered, under the law, enough time to change the child’s Habitual Residence.
Supreme Court decisions can take up to 90 days to be issued and they can, in some cases, actually order the repatriation or they may make their decision on the lower court’s application of the law and send it back down to the lower court to hear the case based on the Supreme Court’s decision and advice.
If you have not been successful in the lower court (Juvenile Court) and you feel your attorney is not as familiar with the Hague Convention or your attorney from that case is not authorized to represent you in the Supreme Court then you should speak with Mike as soon as possible.
Remember that you only have 60-days to file the appeal to you need to contact an English-speaking Hague International Abduction Attorney who is qualified and allowed to appeal your case to the Italian Supreme Court!
Mike is available to answer questions and would be glad to provide you with a free telephone consultation.
Give him a call now at Tel.: +39 06 45478189 or email him with the best number to reach you: e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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