Chapter 9 Key facts checklists

International parent - child abduction

Section 1(2) of the Child Abduction Act 1984 (CAA 1984) makes it an offence for a person connected with the child to remove a child under 16 from the UK without consent from certain specified people.

• Child abduction may be by way of taking a child abroad without consent (removal), or by keeping a child abroad beyond a period for which consent was given (retention).

• Recovery of an abducted child may be effected through the International Child Abduction and Contact Unit (ICACU), if the child is in a country which has ratified the Hague Convention 1980 (HC 1980), the Hague Convention 1996 (HC 1996) or the European Convention. The Conventions have legal force by virtue of the Child Abduction and Custody Act 1985 (CACA 1985).

• Defences to Hague Convention recovery proceedings may be raised by asserting that the court lacks jurisdiction to deal with the application.

• The defences provided in Articles 12 and 13 HC 1980 may be used (though these rarely succeed).

• If the child is in a country which is not a party to any of the Conventions, it may be necessary to take civil proceedings through the courts in that country. The UK has Protocols with Pakistan and Egypt dealing with the approach to be taken in dealing with abduction cases.

• If a child is brought into England and Wales from another country, recovery may be achieved by the use of orders under s 8 of the Children Act 1989 or by making the child a ward of court.