I am 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.
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
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
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
Contacting the ICACU
The ICACU’s general office telephone number is 0203 681 2608 and
can be used by parties seeking “in principle" advice based on the ICACU’s
experience of the other country.
However the ICACU prefers contact to be made by email using the email address:
Email contact allows the ICACU to manage their busy workload and
to collate information about the types of requests and countries. If an enquiry is made by telephone the ICACU
will usually ask that the enquiry also be put in writing but understands that
if a matter is urgent a telephone enquiry may first be necessary.
Making a request for co-operation
for co-operation need to be
should specify whether the request is being made under the Revised Brussels II
Regulation or under the 1996 Hague Convention.
You should identify in your request the Article(s) relied on by you for
the purpose of making the request.
Remember that the request needs to be in scope of the Revised Brussels
II Regulation or the 1996 Hague Convention.
for co-operation should be made as early as practicably possible. There is
nothing in the Revised Brussels II Regulation or the 1996 Hague Convention
which requires a requested State to respond to a request for co-operation
within a particular timescale. The ICACU cannot compel the requested
central authority or foreign competent authorities to respond within a specific
timetable but their counterparts are more likely to be able to offer assistance
if the request is focussed and made on a timely basis. The ICACU therefore asks
that any request for co-operation is made as early as practicable in the
proceedings and that it is informed about the court timetable including the
date of any listed hearing.
fixing the court timetable the timescale for a response from the other
jurisdiction needs to be realistic having regard to the number of steps
involved in a request for co-operation.
In a public law case those steps may involve:
the decision to make a request
for co-operation by the local authority whether following the court’s
direction or otherwise;
request received by the ICACU;
the ICACU requesting any
the request being transmitted
by the ICACU to the requested central authority;
the requested central authority
making any enquiries directly or of its competent authorities to enable it
the requested central authority
or the ICACU arranging any necessary translations of the response;
the ICACU transmitting the
response to the local authority here;
the initial response from the
requested central authority
include a request for additional information and documents in order to
enable a more detailed response to be provided.
copy of any relevant court order should be provided to the ICACU promptly (to
assist in avoiding delay).
formulating the request for co-operation you should give consideration to what
information practically the requested central authority and their competent
authorities may require in order to respond to the request. A clear background case summary will
assist. You should always provide the
full name and date(s) of birth of the child(ren) and of any relevant adult and
an explanation of the