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The Guardian ad Litem in Lineage Cases in the Netherlands

Lennard Govers's picture
Published: 13/11/19 - Country: Netherlands

In The Netherlands we have a special guardian in lineage cases called a ‘Guardian ad Litem’. This article will elaborate on this Guardian ad Litem.

Lineage cases

Lineage issues include, for example, recognition and denial of paternity. The outcome of such procedures can mostly not be reversed and in so can have far-reaching consequences. Because of the importance of these cases, a Guardian ad Litem will be always be appointed, even when Dutch national law isn’t applied. Only attorneys at law specialized in family law can be appointed as Guardian ad Litem in these matters.


The Guardian ad Litem acts as a representative of the child and protects the interests of the child. The Guardian ad Litem has an advisory role to the Court. He or she advises the Judge(s) on the requests that are made to the Court and is also able to make an independent request to the Court on behalf of the child.


After a petition with a lineage request has been submitted to the Court, the Court will appoint a Guardian ad Litem by an interim verdict. Thereafter the appointed Guardian ad Litem will receive the interim decision and all (procedural) documents of the case.

The appointed Guardian ad Litem will proceed to invite all parties for an interview. The Guardian ad Litem also conducts in conversation with children older then twelve. Children under the age of twelve will often not be heard, unless special circumstances apply.


The Court expects the Guardian ad Litem to write up a report and advise her on the international jurisdiction and applicable law, to describe the views of the parties and to take a stand on behalf of the child on the lineage request(s) made to the Court.

Oral hearing

Unless all parties, the Guardian ad Litem and the Judge(s) are in sync, the report of the Guardian ad Litem will be followed by an oral hearing in court. The Guardian ad Litem will be present at this oral hearing, but he won’t wear his gown as an attorney at law, because the Guardian ad Litem represents a child and isn’t an attorney at law in this role.

After the oral hearing the Court will decide on the lineage request with a written decision.

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Lennard Govers's picture

Lennard’s practice focusses on national and international family and juvenile law.

Lennard also acts as a MfN registered mediator in family law related disputes between individual parties.

Furthermore, Lennard is regularly appointed as guardian ad litem by the Courts of The Hague and Rotterdam.

In his spare time Lennard is a member of Vlietwensen and tries to dispute issues between neighbours in The Hague area as an official neighbourhood mediator.