International Parental Child Abduction
The Law Reform Commission released its report on International parental child abduction on 29 April 2002. The report deals with the law relating to the abduction of children across international borders by parents in contested custody cases.
The Commission's focus in reviewing the law in this area was on recommending ways to strengthen Hong Kong's current legal protections against child abduction, so as to better support the operation here of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. This important international convention, which has been in force in Hong Kong since September 1997, provides that children abducted from one Convention-member state to another should be located and returned to their home jurisdictions as quickly as possible.
The Commission's recommendations include:
- the introduction of legislative restrictions on removing a child from the jurisdiction without the required consents;
- a specific power to the court to order the disclosure of the whereabouts of a child;
- a specific power to the court to order the recovery of a child;
- a specific power to the authorities to hold a child suspected of being abducted so that he can be returned to the custodial parent or taken to a place of safety.
The Commission also proposes:
- an expansion of legal aid availability and a speeding up of the processing of legal aid applications for Hague Convention cases;
- a review of the adequacy of the current provisions in Hong Kong regarding stay of custody proceedings pending the outcome of related Hague applications;
- a review of the provisions regarding the confidentiality of information relating to Hague proceedings.
The International parental child abduction report is the second in a series of four reports being published by the Law Reform Commission under its reference on guardianship and custody of children. These reports follow detailed consideration by the Commission of responses to a consultation paper issued by the Guardianship and Custody Sub-committee in December 1998. The first report under this reference, on Guardianship of children, was published in January 2002. The two remaining reports, on mediation, and custody and access were published in March 2003 and March 2005 respectively.
|Press Release (PDF) (MS Word)|
|Executive Summary (PDF) (MS Word)|
|Report (PDF) (MS Word)|