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Parental responsibility & protection of children (Hague Convention)

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Parental responsibility & protection of children (Hague Convention)

 

SUMMARY OF:

Decision 2003/93/EC on the 1996 Hague Convention relating to international legal aspects of parental responsibility and measures for the protection of children

WHAT DOES THIS DECISION DO?

  • It authorises EU countries to sign the Hague Convention.
  • The convention lays down rules to improve protection for children in international situations and avoid conflicts between different national legal systems.

All EU countries are party to the Hague Convention. This means they can rely on common legal rules when dealing with countries outside the EU who are parties to the Convention, to protect children involved in international disputes.

KEY POINTS

What is covered?

The convention seeks to give international protection to children of up to 18 years old, by establishing:

  • which country has jurisdiction to take measures to protect a child or their property;
  • which law is applicable for exercising this jurisdiction;
  • which law applies to parental responsibility;
  • that the protection measures are recognised and enforced in all signatory countries;
  • cooperation between signatory countries.

The measures aimed at protecting a child relate to:

  • parental responsibility;
  • custody rights;
  • guardianship;
  • how the child is represented;
  • placement of the child in foster or other care;
  • supervision of that care;
  • how the child’s property is managed.

Which country is responsible?

The country with jurisdiction to provide protection measures is generally the country where the child is usually resident.

It is the country where they are present:

  • for refugees or internationally displaced children;
  • for children whose usual country of residence cannot be established;
  • in emergencies (optional).

Exception

In a particular case, if another country appears to be better placed for assessing the best interests of the child, it may be allowed to assume jurisdiction.

Which law applies?

  • The country exercising jurisdiction does so under its own law.
  • Exceptionally, it may apply or take into consideration the law of another country that is closely connected to the situation – if this is in the best interest of the child.
  • A country can only refuse to apply the law designated by the convention for justified reasons of public policy and in the best interest of the child.

Recognition & enforcement

  • The measures a signatory country takes under this convention to protect a child or their property must be recognised in all other signatory countries.
  • Only in a limited number of cases, as specified in the convention, may a country refuse recognition.
  • When protection measures are declared enforceable in another country, that country must enforce them as if it had taken them itself, and do so in accordance with its own law.

Cooperation

  • Each signatory country must designate one or more central authorities to carry out the obligations imposed on it by the convention.
  • These authorities must cooperate and exchange information with each other, as well as promote cooperation in such cases among their national authorities.

BACKGROUND

Protecting children’s rights – EU information

ACT

Council Decision 2003/93/EC of 19 December 2002 authorising the Member States, in the interest of the Community, to sign the 1996 Hague Convention on jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition, enforcement and cooperation in respect of parental responsibility and measures for the protection of children (OJ L 48, 21.2.2003, pp. 1–2)

RELATED ACTS

Council Decision 2008/431/EC 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 (OJ L 151, 11.6.2008, pp. 36–48)

last update 26.07.2016

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