President’s Guidance of 10 November 2014: The International Child Abduction and Contact Unit (ICACU)
10 NOV 2014
aware that an increasing number of children cases have an international element
and that courts often require information from other jurisdictions before being
able to proceed. It is not always easy to know how to obtain this information.
may not always be possible to obtain the information sufficiently quickly to
enable the court to hear these cases within 26 weeks, I am very grateful to the
International Child Abduction and Contact Unit (ICACU) for providing the
following, which will help practitioners to follow the correct route to obtain
information to help the court when necessary. It has been approved by Lady
Justice Black and the Senior Master.
Practitioners will also need to be
alive to Chapter VI of Part 12 of the Family Procedure Rules 2010 as amended,
and to The Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children
(International Obligations) (England and Wales and Northern Ireland)
of the Family Division
10 November 2014
is the operational Central Authority for England and Wales for Council
Regulation (EC) 2201/2003 (‘Brussels IIA’ or ‘the Revised Brussels II
Regulation’) and for England only for the 1996 Hague Convention on
Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Co-operation in
Respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children
(‘the 1996 Hague Convention’).1
provides a standard response/leaflet to enquiries about requests for co-operation from
local authorities explaining about other sources of assistance including where
to find information and contact details of other bodies which may be able to
assist. A copy of that standard response/leaflet is attached as it is a helpful resource.
Can the ICACU help?
is a small administrative unit. Its staff are not lawyers or social workers.
The ICACU cannot give legal advice.
may however be able to help by making a request for co-operation to another
country, in particular for the collection and exchange of information
the other country is:
(a) either a
State of the European Union (other
(b) a State Party to the 1996 Hague Convention;
(c) the request for co-operation is in
scope of the Revised Brussels II Regulation or of the 1996 Hague Convention
if the proposed request for co-operation is in scope consider Articles 1, 53-57
of the Revised Brussels II Regulation and Articles 1, 3, 4 , 30-37 of the 1996
ICACU can have a role in relation to transfers between courts
under Article 15 of the Revised Brussels II Regulation or authorities under
Articles 8 and 9 the 1996 Hague Convention; this role is not covered by this
for co-operation involving the collection and exchange of
under Article 55 of the Revised Brussels II Regulation or under Article 34 of
the 1996 Hague Convention must be distinguished from requests for evidence.
a request under the 1996 Hague Convention consideration should be given to
Article 37 of the 1996 Hague Convention before deciding to contact the ICACU.
If considering placement of a child in another country:
Whether or not
placement of a child in another country is considered to be placement in
institutional care or with a foster
is a question for the requested country not for the requesting country. A placement which from a domestic perspective
is a private law placement may be regarded as a public law placement by the
requested country. A request for
co-operation can be made to establish if, in principle, the consent of the
other country would be required for placement even if the care plan for the
child is not yet fully informed.
an EU Member State you should consider Article 56 of the Revised Brussels II
Regulation and the decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union
(‘CJEU’) on the operation of Article 56 in case C‑92/12 PPU;
a 1996 Hague Convention country you should consider Article 33 of the
may have practical knowledge and experience of the processes and procedures in
the other country which it can usefully share in response to an enquiry. However before relying on information formerly
provided by the ICACU in another case you should bear in mind that the other
country’s processes and procedures may have changed since you last contacted
request is not in scope of the Revised Brussels II Regulation or of the 1996 Hague
may be in scope of
another European Regulation or international Convention and another central
authority or body may be able to assist.
England and Wales:
Senior Master is:
(a) the transmitting agency under
Article 2 of Council Regulation (EC) No 1393/2007 of 13 November 2007 on the service in the Member States of judicial and
extrajudicial documents in civil or commercial matters, (‘the Service
(b) the central authority under Article
3 of the 1965 Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and
Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters (‘the 1965 Hague
(c) the central body under Article 3 of
Council Regulation (EC) No 1206/2001 of 28 May 2001 on cooperation between the
courts of the Member States in the taking of evidence in civil or commercial
matters (‘the Taking of Evidence Regulation’)
(d) the central authority under Article
2 of the 1970 Hague Convention on the Taking of Evidence Abroad in Civil or
Commercial Matters (‘the 1970 Hague Convention’).
administrative unit which supports the Senior Master is the Foreign Process
Section based in the Royal Courts of Justice.
States have differing views as to what comes within scope of the Revised
Brussels II Regulation and what comes within scope of the Taking of Evidence
Regulation. If you are in doubt this may be where the ICACU’s practical
knowledge and experience of the other country’s processes and procedures can be
of assistance. In such cases you should
make an early enquiry to avoid delay at the point the formal request needs to
UKCA-ECR is the central authority for
the exchange of criminal records between Member States of the European Union.
What the ICACU does not do
As the ICACU
has no role to play in the operation of:
mechanism for the taking of evidence abroad is in the Taking of Evidence
Regulation or the 1970 Hague Convention, the ICACU will not assist in acquiring
- the Service Regulation, or of
- the 1965 Hague Convention,
- the ICACU
will not serve or arrange service of court documents and nor will its
counterpart in the other country.
note that the ICACU does not forward requests for co-operation on to other
domestic central authorities or bodies when it receives a request which is
outside the scope of the Revised Brussels II Regulation or of the 1996 Hague
The ICACU does not notify consular authorities about proceedings
concerning a child of a foreign nationality either pursuant to
Re E (Brussels II Revised: Vienna Convention: Reporting Restrictions)  EWHC 6 (Fam),  2 FLR 151 or at all as
that is not a central authority duty or function. Consular
authorities, not the ICACU, should also be contacted about passports and other
travel documents such as visas.
for an opinion on jurisdiction is not a question for central authorities. The ICACU will not offer an opinion on
jurisdiction and nor should a question about jurisdiction form part of a
request for the collection and exchange of information.
will not transmit a request for formal criminal record checks as that is a
request properly directed to the UKCA-ECR.
does not become directly involved in the court proceedings. Central authorities are not under any
obligation to engage in proceedings and do not require a court order before discharging
their duties and responsibilities under the Revised Brussels II Regulation or
the 1996 Hague Convention.
is also the operational Central Authority for the 1980 Hague Convention on the
Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and the 1980 Hague European
Convention on Recognition and Enforcement of Decisions Concerning Custody of
Children and Restoration of Custody of Children.
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