Most of the Child Welfare Tribunal's cases are dealt with at tribunal hearings, which are based on the same principles that apply in a court of law.
The Child Welfare Tribunal is purely a decision-making body. By this we mean that the cases it considers are never initiated by the tribunal itself. Child welfare cases are brought before the Child Welfare Tribunal by the municipal child welfare services, parents or children with rights as a party to the case for the tribunal to make a decision in the case.
The Child Welfare Tribunal is charged with considering the cases brought before it in a sound, swift and confidence-inspiring manner. The Act dictates that its proceedings shall be adapted to the nature, scope and complexity of the case. Most cases are dealt with through what is known as tribunal hearings. This is an extensive and time-consuming process. The case processing is more or less identical to how the courts of law deal with similar cases. In some cases, the tribunal can use a simpler procedure.
In emergencies where there is no time to wait for the tribunal to consider a case, the head of a municipal child welfare service, or in some cases the prosecuting authority, can issue an interim emergency order. Strict conditions must be met before an interim emergency order can be issued. Such orders can be appealed. Special case processing rules apply in such appeal cases. process. [The Child Welfare Act also allows tribunals to endeavour to resolve cases by means of what is known as a dialogue process.]
The tribunal’s decisions can only be reviewed by a court of law. The deadline for bringing legal action before the district court is one month. The deadline is reckoned from the time of receipt of the decision.