As regular readers of our blog know well, the Hague Convention on Child Abduction – or to give it its proper title, the Hague Convention on the International Aspects of Child Abduction – is of primary importance in preventing inter-country abductions.  Before the introduction of the Hague Convention, if a child was abducted from one country to another, the parent or parents had to start proceedings in the country to which the child had been taken.  When the Convention was being negotiated in the 1970s and 80s, the heart-breaking and eye catching cases were where a child had been taken from a parent or both parents by a third party, often a relative but sometimes a stranger.  It quickly became apparent though that in fact most cases of cross-country child removal arose from one parent removing the child from the other.  The Hague Convention tackled the problem by establishing two broad principles:-

(a)    The principle that if a party has “Rights of Custody” they can use the Convention to assist them; and

(b)   That the country where the child was habitually resident prior to his or her removal should be the one that decides the long term issues of custody, visitation etc.

This meant then that the only proceedings that needed to take place in the country to which the child had been taken were summary proceedings enforcing a return.  The courts of the country to which the child had been taken were not involved in arguments about the merit of who should have custody etc.

Initially the Convention received widespread support through the Western hemisphere.  Slowly but surely countries that initially held out (e.g. Belgium) have acceded to the Convention.  Now there have been two very significant accessions to the Convention that move it beyond the “Western hemisphere club.”  Japan and now Russia have joined.

It is slightly too soon for parents in this distressing situation to rejoice.  In both countries the legal machinery has to be established.  There has to be a central authority with responsibility to deal on a reciprocal basis with other countries to handle incoming and outgoing requests for return.  There needs to be judicial training so that judges understand what is expected of them.  Lastly there has to be an effective means of enforcing the orders the judges make.

Russia has indicated that it is not applying the Convention retrospectively.  It is not clear whether that is a fixed policy decision, or whether it is merely a pragmatic decision to enable the Convention to be put into effect in a manageable way.

In any case, the “automatic return” that the Convention tries to achieve does not apply after a year has elapsed from the abduction, unless there are particular circumstances.

It is to be hoped that the significant extension by these two influential countries will set an example for others to follow.

Got a question? Ask us now…

Kindly complete the form below to send an enquiry. Your message will be sent to one of our solicitors. Discretion is guaranteed.

Your Information

  • Consider including information such as: the name of your spouse (if relevant), the country you live in, the background to your problem.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Over 2000 FREE
consultations and counting…

Our free consultation can help you more clearly understand the legal issues relating your case and what your options are to move forward.

Request your free consultation

Or send us an enquiry

Today I had my free initial consultation with partner Henry Brookman over the phone. He had a clear understanding of my situation based on the info I provided in advance and provided me with sound advice and guidance to move forward. Many thanks.

Aug 2022   H. J.

Really appreciated Brookman's advice and support. Most lawyers charge extortionate fees just for an initial conversation but not Henry. Thanks for all your advice and time.

Jul 2022   Chloé

I had a consultation with the partner Henry Brookman. I can absolutely recommend him, he seemed knowledgeable, up to date and patient. I have found him to be straightforward in the answers he gives and down to earth. 100% recommended.

Jun 2022   Michael P

I have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending Henry Brookman. His advice came in promptly when solicited, and was excellent. He is a thoughtful and very professional lawyer. He understood perfectly well the issue I presented him with, and gave me excellent advice in a family law related matter.

May 2022   Philip Hands

From my first contact with the firm I was treated courteously and promptly. I was offered a pro bono meeting shortly after making contact. Mr Brookman is clearly a very experienced professional and in our meeting he gave me some well considered and objective advice about my rather complicated situation which spans more than one jurisdiction.

May 2022   Julian Peachey

I had an initial consultation with Henry Brookman regarding prenuptial agreements and found him to be very helpful and knowledgeable.

Mar 2022   Simon Brooks

I had a free telephone consultation yesterday with Gavin Yeung. He could not have been more helpful and reassuring as he calmly and patiently worked through my situation to provide me with clarity and piece of mind at a time it was really needed and emotions are running high.

Mar 2022   'K M'

I spoke with Aziz at Brookman Solicitors on the phone for an initial consultation and he is one of the friendliest lawyers I have met. He is clearly very experienced as he patiently explained me all the concepts and processes which are quite daunting for someone in my situation, and then focused on the actual questions I wanted to ask... I would highly recommend Aziz and Brookman Solicitors.

Feb 2022   'R'

I am grateful for Henry Brookman and his team for support they provided to me during very frustrating time of divorce. They respond promptly to any request. I felt more confident after I started the process with them. Henry listened carefully to me and took quick actions on my case. I highly recommend this team of real professionals even for non-UK citizens.

Feb 2022   Sezim Beksultanova

I had online consultation with the partner Henry Brookman today. I was very happy with the service. I found him to be very insightful, knowledgeable and provided sound advice, as well as being kind and patient. It was a very comfortable discussion and he sent an email detailing our discussion very quickly discussing in our meeting in depth. I am amazed by the service we got just from a free consultation. I would highly recommend these solicitors!

Jan 2022   Shirley Christopher

We spoke at length and at no point felt like he was rushing us and we felt very comfortable. After our discussion we were also quickly sent an email detailing everything we were discussing in our meeting in depth. I am amazed by the service we got just from a free consultation. I would highly recommend these solicitors!

Dec 2021   Tina

I was fortunate to spend an hour running through a few questions with Natasha Slabas. She was quick to grasp the points raised and proposed a sensible way forward. Would recommend

Dec 2021   Nick Powell

I cannot praise the professionalism and courtesy too highly. The advice given in a very complex divorce matter, was clear, concise, enlightening and inspiring.

Nov 2021   Mary Barn

I contacted Henry Brookman because of the complex international aspect of my divorce and I’m very glad I did... Henry took his time explaining all the pro’s and contra’s... I now have a much clearer view over the situation and feel more confident going forward. I’m very grateful for the excellent advice I’ve received and not feeling rushed during the meeting.

Nov 2021   'A B'

Talitha offers sound advice, asks the right questions and advises you with what you need to know not just what you want to hear. I have no hesitation in recommending her services.

Sep 2021   Anu Vidyarthi

Google Reviews
Ask A Question

Contact Us

If you have questions, contact us now, we can help you.

Enquire Now

Or call us on +44 (0)20 7430 8470