Child abduction—introduction and issuing proceedings (Hague Convention)
Child abduction—introduction and issuing proceedings (Hague Convention)

The following Family guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Child abduction—introduction and issuing proceedings (Hague Convention)
  • Introduction
  • Central authority
  • Public funding
  • Issuing an application
  • Child abduction mediation scheme

This Practice Note is impacted by the exit of the UK from the EU on 31 January 2020. This has implications for practitioners, inter alia, when considering which courts have jurisdiction to determine a dispute. For guidance, see Practice Note: Brexit—children proceedings. This Practice Note sets out the current position on making an application under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction 1980 (the 1980 Hague Convention).

Introduction

Left-behind parents from countries that are signatories can make an application under the 1980 Hague Convention seeking a return of the abducted child back to the child’s place of habitual residence. The applicant can make an application:

  1. via the central authority of their own country, or

  2. directly to the central authority in this jurisdiction, or

  3. directly through a solicitor who is on the England and Wales central authority’s panel of solicitors, who will then arrange for the case to be registered with the central authority in this jurisdiction

The domestic law implementing the 1980 Hague Convention is the Child Abduction and Custody Act 1985 (CACA 1985).

If the abduction is from an EU country (save for Denmark), then Council Regulation (EC) No 2201/2003 of 27 November 2003 (commonly known as Brussels II bis) also applies. Brussels II bis underpins the 1980 Hague Convention and, as noted by Black LJ in