Special case processing rules apply to these cases. The child has already been placed outside the home when the tribunal receives the case, so it is important to keep case processing times short. The Act therefore requires appeal cases to be decided within one week of the tribunal receiving the appeal.

The appeal is addressed directly to the tribunal, and can be submitted either verbally or in writing. It is not necessary to contact the child welfare service first. Free legal counsel is provided for the parties entitled to appeal, and most people therefore choose to contact their lawyer and let the lawyer handle the appeal.

The Child Welfare Tribunal summons the parties and their lawyers for a meeting with the tribunal chair who will consider the appeal. In special cases, the chair may decide that the appeal should be considered by a full tribunal consisting of a tribunal chair, an expert member and an ordinary member. At the meeting, the appellants and the child welfare service state their opinions in the case. If the tribunal chair permits, the parties can call witnesses and present documentary evidence. Finally, the parties’ lawyers will summarise the parties’ views concerning the appeal.

These rules also apply in cases involving emergency detention of substance abusers.

1. The appeal is submitted

The parents or a child with rights as a party to the case appeals the case.

2. Preparations and summons

The Child Welfare Tribunal makes preparations for the case and summons the parties for a meeting.

3. Meeting

The meeting is held. The parties give statements, and the lawyers give brief closing statements.

4. Decision

The Child Welfare Tribunal writes and sends its decision within one week.