Convention on the Abduction of Children

Oral Answers to Questions — Lord Chancellor's Department – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 17 February 1998.

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Mr. Gareth Thomas:

If he will make a statement on the working of the Hague convention on the abduction of children. [28100]

Photo of Geoff Hoon Geoff Hoon Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department

The 1980 Hague convention on the civil aspects of international child abduction provides for the return of children who have been wrongfully removed from, or wrongfully retained away from, their country of habitual residence. More than 40 states are party to the convention, which came into force in the United Kingdom in 1986. It has been of significant benefit to the UK in securing the return of abducted children.

Mr. Thomas:

I am grateful for that response. Given the draconian nature of orders made under the convention, will my hon. Friend consider implementing a review to ensure consistency and uniformity in its implementation among states that are signatories?

Photo of Geoff Hoon Geoff Hoon Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department

I thank my hon. Friend for his question, and for his representations about the matter on earlier occasions.

The Government are generally satisfied with the operation of the convention, but when issues arise either generally or bilaterally they are discussed at the appropriate level through judicial and administrative channels. I am confident that that is the best way of securing a better and fairer system. The Government participate fully in mechanisms for reviewing the operation of international conventions relating to child abduction, both internationally and bilaterally. Such work involves the alignment of different jurisdictions and different traditions of law and society and inevitably involves difficulty.