The Netherlands

On behalf of the team

On 26 January 2022, the District Court of The Hague rendered judgment in the case between Clara Wichmann and the State.[1]District Court of The Hague 26 January 2022, ECLI:NL:RBDHA:2022:432 The issue revolves around the question of whether the Child Protection Board acted unlawfully vis-à-vis mothers who, against their will, had to give up their child in the period 1956 – 1984 (better known as ‘remote mothers’). The State defended itself by, inter alia, invoking prescription. The District Court finds that it is like that the claims have become time-barred. She does not have to rule on that procedural issue though, since the claims are denied on substantive grounds.

The District Court concludes that the State did not act unlawfully vis-à-vis Clara Wichmann’s represented parties. The Child Protection Board did not, either structurally or in concrete cases, in the performance of its duties in connection with the giving up and adoption of children of Clara Wichmann’s represented parties, make errors that are legally culpable in the sense asserted by the claimants. The report on which the claim is based shows that the absence of that freedom of choice was the result of the interplay of societal, social and religious relations during that period. Partly for this reason, it cannot be said that it is precisely the Child Protection Board that acted unlawfully vis-à-vis the birth mothers. This is all the more true as it was not the duty of the Child Protection Board to advise the mothers on practical and legal possibilities for raising their child themselves.