Hague Convention on Parental Responsibility and Protection of Children
|Convention of 19 October 1996 on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Co-operation in respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children|
Status of the convention
Parties (not yet in force)
|Signed||19 October 1996|
|Location||The Hague, The Netherlands|
|Effective||1 January 2002|
|Condition||Ratification by 3 states|
|Depositary||Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Netherlands)|
|Languages||English and French|
The Hague Convention on parental responsibility and protection of children, or Hague Convention 1996, officially Convention of 19 October 1996 on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Co-operation in respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children or Hague Convention 1996 is a convention of the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH). It covers civil measures of protection concerning children, ranging from orders concerning parental responsibility and contact to public measures of protection or care, and from matters of representation to the protection of children's property. It is therefore much broader in scope than two earlier conventions of the HCCH on the subject.
The Convention has uniform rules determining which country's authorities are competent to take the measures of protection. The Convention determines which country's laws are to be applied, and it provides for the recognition and enforcement of measures taken in one Contracting State in all other Contracting States. The co-operation provisions of the Convention provide the basic framework for the exchange of information and for the necessary degree of collaboration between administrative authorities in the Contracting States.
The Convention first came into force 1 January 2002 and currently has 41 Contracting States (as of 1 June 2013). In addition, Belgium, Italy and the United States signed the convention, but did not ratify.
Scope and application
The 1996 Convention aims to avoid orders about children's property and welfare (excluding parental responsibility and contact) being made in any state other than the state in which the child is habitually resident. It also allows orders made in the child's state of habitual residence to be registered and made enforceable in other Convention countries. It establishes a framework for the co-ordination of legal systems, and for international judicial and administrative co-operation.
The Hague Children's Conventions
The Hague Conference has, for more than a century, been involved in measures of protection under civil law of children at risk in cross-frontier situations. Three Hague Children's Conventions have been developed over the last twenty-five years, a fundamental purpose being to provide the practical machinery to enable States which share a common interest in protecting children to co-operate together to do so.
The 1996 Convention
The 1996 Convention is the broadest in scope of those three, covering as it does a very wide range of civil measures of protection concerning children, ranging from public measures of protection or care to matters of representation to the protection of children's property. It also covers:
- Unaccompanied minors
- Cross-frontier placements of children
Implementation in the European Union
The subject of the Convention is one of the subjects treated in the EU's Brussels II regulations. Between member states this regulation takes precedence over the Hague Convention as it is "at least as favourable as the rules laid down in the Convention". The subjects of convention furthermore is an area of mixed competence between the European Union and its member states, which means that the European Union has to authorise it member states to sign and to ratify the Convention and state so. The European Union authorised signature and ratification in 2002 and 2008 respectively.
The ratification directive was delayed as a result of the Gibraltar dispute between Spain and the United Kingdom. In January 2008 an agreement was reached to resolve the situation to allow progress on this and other treaties. Britain and Spain compromised on a so-called "post-boxing" system under which communications between Spain and Gibraltar involving the treaties will go through London. After this deal the Convention entered into force for several EU countries, including Spain and the United Kingdom. As of July 2014, Italy is the only state that has not ratified the convention.
Russian Federation and the Convention
The 1996 Convention entered into force on 1 June 2013 for Russia. The first use of the Convention in Russia is currently underway with an application from the United Kingdom with respect to two minor children who had been taken to Russia by their non-custodial father for a holiday and not returned. The case was heard by the Moscow City Court, which ruled, as outlined by the Convention, for recognition and enforcement of English return orders and a return of the children to their mother in the UK. The case is still ongoing as of October 2013 because the father appealed the ruling.
- Treaty text
- Bari Brandes Corbin and Evan B. Brandes, Interpreting and Applying the Hague Convention, New York Family Law Monthly, Vol. 9 Nos. 4–5, December 2007, January 2008
- "Status Table – Hague Convention 1996". Hague. 2 May 2013. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
- "2008/431/EC: Council Decision of 5 June 2008 authorising certain Member States to ratify, or accede to, in the interest of the European Community, the 1996 Hague Convention on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Cooperation in respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children and authorising certain Member States to make a declaration on the application of the relevant internal rules of Community law – Convention on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Cooperation in respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children". EUR-Lex. 15 June 2008. Retrieved 11 February 2012.
- "Convention on parental responsibility and protection of children". EUR-Lex. 19 December 2002. Retrieved 11 February 2012.
- "Britain, Spain cut deal on Gibraltar to revive treaties". Xinhuanet.com. 9 January 2008. Retrieved 15 January 2011.
- "Russian court told to act over boys kept by father". The Independent. 21 July 2013. Retrieved 13 October 2013.