Pretoria – Top Pretoria attorney Ferdinand Hartzenberg has been nominated for the prestigious Spanish Princess of Asturias award for 2019.
The nomination followed his groundbreaking work in advancing the first shared custody ruling in an Arab country.
Hartzenberg is a well known face in local courts and represented various celebrities, including Springbok rugby legend Joost van der Westhuizen when he was still alive.
It is the first time that a South African has been nominated for the award granted by the heir to the Spanish throne in various categories.
Hartzenberg was nominated together with the Spanish child watchdog organisation he assisted in the legal work for the category Award for Concorde.
This category is aimed at recognising the work done in the human rights field. It includes promoting and protecting peace, freedom and in general the progress of humanity.
Hartzenberg worked together with the Spanish organisation Confederació* por el Mejor Interés de la Infancia, which is involved in promoting the well-being of minors across the world.
The aim of the organisation is to alleviate the difficulties that divorced parents face to access their children if they live in different countries.
The case for which Hartzenberg was nominated concerned instructions he had received three years ago from a father to assist him with his divorce case in Dubai.
He was married to a South African woman from Pretoria. Hartzenberg had to assess and advise on the situation as the mother had initially received full custody of the children from a Dubai court.
She was free to travel with the children and keep them from their father. The children were Spanish citizens but it was feared that the mother would bring them to South Africa.
Hartzenberg had to advise the court in Dubai about the South African legal situation if the mother stayed here and what her rights would have been.
But it went beyond that and his input resulted in the benchmark shared custody ruling in an Arab country.
Hartzenberg will next month be assessed by the judges for the Concordia category, with previous winners including the SOS children’s villages.
Last year’s winner was the EU.
Hartzenberg said he was extremely honoured to have been nominated with the team for one of the most prestigious awards in the world, provided for by the King of Spain.
There are eight categories, and the winner will be announced on June 13.
The team he was part of has received support from organisations connected to 68 countries across he world.
This showed that the achievement has been perceived extremely positively worldwide, said Borja Branacova, part of the team.
Zelda Venter – Pretoria News