WHAT ARE THE MAIN FEATURES OF THE HAGUE CONVENTION?
- it does not deal with criminal aspects of international child abduction ;
- it is not intended to decide on rights of custody or access to a child, but to return the child to his habitual residence, where those rights can be decided and enforced ;
- a court deciding a Hague Convention case does NOT apply the principle of the child's welfare as the overriding consideration. However, it should be remembered that the principle behind the Hague Convention is the child's welfare; it is considered to be in the child's best interests for him to be returned to the country where he had been 'living' before he was abducted, and for the courts there to decide on the merits of his future place of residence;
- it is not necessary to have a prior court order in one's favour to apply under the Convention (although a parent seeking the return of a child to Israel can apply to the Family Court for an Article 15 declaration that the removal was 'wrongful');
- a parent must file under the Convention within one year from the date of the wrongful removal or retention in order to obtain an order for the immediate return of the child (unless the abducting parent can rely on one of the defences provided) ;
- free or subsidised legal representation of applicants, who apply for the return of the child to Israel, may be available in countries which provide this.
Convention In Action