January 5, 2024

What can I do if my child has been abducted to or from a Non-Hague Convention Country?

Posted in Child abduction, Family
Plane taking off

The Hague Convention 1980 is a multilateral treaty that establishes proceedings for the immediate return of children who have been removed from their home country. A list of Countries who have signed the Hague Convention 1980 are listed in bold at HCCH | #28 - Status table. Any Country not on this list is a Non-Hague Convention Country and the treaty does not apply.

Important Practical points:-

  1. Action should be taken immediately as time is of the essence in seeking a successful return of a child. In England, advice should be taken from a Law Society or Resolution accredited child abduction lawyer (a list can be found at Child abduction: accredited solicitors referral list – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk
  2. Report the offence to the police in both countries. If the child is abroad, it may help Interpol locate a child. The police can also help with extradition, which is a long drawn out process.
  3. Do not tell the abducting parent or anyone else that lawyers are being consulted/instructed to seek a return. Secrecy is important.
  4. Stay in close communication with the abducting parent, in simple and amicable terms, in order to obtain as much information as possible as to the whereabouts of the child and any change in plan for relocation.
  5. Find out what connection or ties the abducting parent has to the country to include family members, friends, financial connections e.g. assets, bank accounts etc. This will be especially important if their location is unknown.
  6. Try to communicate with the abducting parent via email or messages where possible so there is a paper trail and it can be used as evidence.
  7. In some circumstances, where a child cannot be located in England, consideration can be given to obtaining a Publicity Order and using the Media.

Abduction to England from a Non-Hague Convention Country

An application can be made in Wardship under the Inherent Jurisdiction of the High Court. If a child is made a Ward of Court it means that no important steps can be taken in relation to the child without the permission of the Court. The child’s welfare is the paramount consideration in the proceedings.

Abduction from England to a Non-Hague Convention Country

Proceedings will often need to be take in the Country that the child has been taken to. English court orders and/or declarations may assist. The Foreign & Commonwealth Office – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk), Reunite | International Child Abduction Centre | Child Abduction Charity and the Home | International Academy of Family Lawyers | IAFL may be able to provide a list of English speaking lawyers in the foreign jurisdiction.

Contact Kim:

If you are worried about a child being abducted or your child has been abducted please get in touch with our Law Society Accredited Child Abduction specialist, Kim Lehal.

Kim Lehal RWK Goodman
Partner | Head of International Children

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