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Outcomes for Objecting Children under the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction

This project will ascertain the perspectives of family justice professionals; children who have been returned to a family member from whom they had been abducted and who have objected to their return; and the parents of the children regarding the child objection defence, to better inform international law, policy and practice.

The 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction provides for co-operation between its 95 Signatory States to ensure that a child abducted from their state of habitual residence in breach of rights of custody is returned forthwith. Unlike most other family law matters, the focus here is on the jurisdiction, not the child’s welfare, unless one of the very limited convention defences applies, including when a child objects to being returned and has attained an age and degree of maturity at which it is appropriate to take their views into account. Little evidence currently exists regarding the longer-term impact on such children when they are ordered by the court to either return or not return. Utilising an innovative interdisciplinary cross-jurisdictional methodology, this project aims to ascertain the perspectives of family justice professionals, children who have objected to their return and their parents regarding the child objection defence, and the welfare outcomes for abducted children, to better inform international law, policy and practice.

Principal Investigator: Professor Marilyn Freeman, University of Westminster

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International

We foster international collaboration in the humanities and social sciences, and promote the sharing of international perspectives on global challenges.

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