Are the impacts of the 1980 Hague Convention on families outdated?

Family Law

The 25 October 1980 Hague Convention has been very successful since it’s development by the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH). Established 40 years ago, the multilateral treaty on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction has led to the summary return of thousands of abducted children globally. At the same time, the Convention has prevented the abduction of countless others.

While the 1980 Hague Convention does have huge benefits, it naturally comes with some deficiencies, with its impacts on families requiring consideration. This has led to family law practitioners across the UK to wonder if the Convention is outdated for the families in the country. This is also a concern for family law solicitors Manchester experts who are interested in offering excellent service.

It was intended for the Hague Convention to protecting children from harmful impacts of being wrongfully removed or retained. The Convention guides on procedures to ensure a prompt return of abducted children to the state of habitual residence and secure their protection for rights of access as well.

Indeed, the Convention ensures and has ensured the return of children, but it provides no procedures to implement return orders, therefore leading to failure of the order in many contracting states- many of these make no attempt to guarantee to ascertain the enforcement of return orders. A family law solicitors Manchester specialist may wonder what’s the point of ordering the return of a child when the country has no mechanism to enforce it.

In relation to this is another natural deficiency. There is no procedure to ensure that contracting states comply with the return orders. No ultimate appeal, for instance, is there to ensure the universal application of the Convention, and illuminate the inconsistencies that cause families uncertainties.

On top of that, a uniform mechanism for the enforcement of undertakings (solemn promises to the court) lacks – parents forego other arrangements to provide a “soft landing” for the returning child. It could be traumatic for children if the 1980 Hague Convention is applied in some contracting states.

Besides the Convention being in place the children can be separated from their parents who are unable to accompany them because of practical issues or inability to afford to accompany their children. An expert can explain certain cases that can lead to a child losing a parent.

In England and Wales, consequently, it is now routine for left-behind parents to be asked to provide a package of protective measures and undertakings designed to improve perceived concerns about a child’s welfare as soon as they are returned and pending court intervention.

Of course, there are many issues and concerns. These can certainly influence concerned parties, family law practitioners and the government to wonder if the 1980 Hague Convention impacts on families are outdated and whether the Convention needs a revisit and revision.