Australia’s Approach to International Child Abduction: Practical Experiences & Lessons Learnt

In an era of ever increasing globalisation and ease of movement, the benefits of international co-operation in matters concerning children have never been more important. The multi-cultural nature of today’s relationships has meant an increase in child abduction cases and the need to enforce ‘custody’ orders outside of the country in which these orders are made.

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, which took effect in 1983 and to date has 81 signatories (Appendix A), seeks to address this issue in a proactive way. The treaty requires Courts in the receiving country to send children back to their countries of “habitual residence” where all custody issues are then litigated subject to limited exceptions.

This paper seeks to outline Australia’s approach to child abduction and share some of the practical experiences and lessons learnt by the legal profession .

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