Today, the Supreme Court of the Netherlands ruled that the case of Dilani Butink against the Dutch State and an intermediary organisation for her wrongful adoption from Sri Lanka will be referred back to the Court of Appeal in Amsterdam. In 2022, the Appeals Court in The Hague held that both the State and the intermediary organisation had acted unlawfully towards Dilani. Given the knowledge about abuses in international adoptions from Sri Lanka, the intermediary organisation should have made more effort to obtain as much information as possible about her origin and the circumstances in which her family had given her up. The State should have better monitored the intermediary organisation, and in light of the known abuses, was not allowed to simply rely on documents provided by Sri Lankan authorities.

Now, the Supreme Court has held that in answering the question of whether the intermediary organization acted unlawfully by not conducting more research despite the general indications of abuse, the Appeals Court should have considered not only these general indications of abuse, but also the concrete circumstances of the case. According to the Supreme Court, the judgment rendered by the Appeals Court does not show that those concrete circumstances were taken into account.

With regard to the role of the Dutch State, the Supreme Court held that it did not follow from the rules applicable at the time that the State, as a supervisory authority, had a duty to thoroughly examine whether the intermediary organization complied with the legal standards in an individual case of adoption. The Appeals Court should have adjudged the State's actions with more restraint, and not merely referred to general indications of abuse in international adoptions from Sri Lanka. The case will be referred back to the appellate level, to the Appeals Court of Amsterdam.

Dilani is represented by Lisa-Marie Komp.


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