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Cover Bromley's Family Law

21. The 1996 Hague Convention on the Protection of Children  

N V Lowe, G Douglas, E Hitchings, and R Taylor

Many relationships are now transnational ones between parties from different cultures and countries. The breakdown of these relationships means that increasing numbers of children are caught up in cross-border disputes. Such disputes raise a variety of issues, including which court should hear any question concerning the children’s upbringing, what happens if each parent brings separate proceedings at the same time, and about the enforceability of orders, for example that a parent living in one country should see their child in another country. Now that the UK has left the European Union the key international instrument for dealing with these issues is the 1996 Hague Convention on the Protection of Children which provides basic rules of jurisdiction for hearing cases concerning children and a consequential system of recognition and enforcement of decisions concerning parental responsibility. This chapter discusses the following aspects of the 1996 Convention: its aims, scope, the jurisdictional rules, applicable law with regard to parental responsibility, recognition and enforcement, the placement of children abroad and safeguarding rights of access.