The Hague Conference on Private International Law will convene the Sixth Meeting of the Special Commission to review the practical operation of the Hague Abduction and Child Protection Conventions from 1-10 June 2011. Both Conventions are important, widely ratified multilateral instruments which protect the safety and welfare of children all over the world.
The 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention applies typically where one parent has moved a child abroad without the consent of the other parent and without the permission of a court. In such a case, the “left behind” parent may apply through the Hague system for the prompt return of the child and a “return order” will be issued unless the “taking parent” can establish that one of the exceptions found in the Convention should be applied. The Convention is now operating in 85 States, with additional States preparing to join, including Japan – which announced its intent to sign the Convention at the G8 Summit in Deauville, France last week.
The 1996 Hague Child Protection Convention provides for co-operation among the State Parties on a wide range of cross-border child protection matters, e.g., parental disputes over contact with children, the protection of runaway children, and cross-border care. The Convention currently has 32 State Parties, with many more States preparing to join. Most European Union States are already a Party to the Convention. Those EU States which are not yet a Party will become so in the near future. In addition, the United States signed the Convention this past October.
The Special Commission programme includes, among other things, presentations and discussions on:
- domestic violence allegations and return proceedings;
- a statistical survey of cases pertaining to the Hague Abduction Convention;
- mediation principles and discussion of a draft Guide to Good Practice on Mediation;
- development of the International Hague Network of Judges, a global network of judges who act as a channel of communication and liaison with other judges within their own jurisdictions and in other Contracting States for issues relevant to the Hague Abduction Convention.
Conclusions and Recommendations of the Special Commission on the above topics, as well as other items discussed, will be issued following the closing of the meeting.