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The 1980 Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and British Overseas Territories – a colonial anachronism in need of reform?

Date:22 MAR 2021
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Mehvish Chaudhry, Barrister, Harcourt Chambers
James Netto, Partner, The International Family Law Group

In VB v TR [2020] EWHC 877 (Fam), Mostyn J was charged with dealing with an application for the summary return of a child to the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda. Whilst an application for the return of a child abducted from Bermuda to many other states would be dealt with under the 1980 Hague Convention, the same Convention does not apply between the UK and many British Overseas Territories. This is notwithstanding of course the significant social, cultural and legal ties the British Overseas Territories hold with the UK. Within this article, the authors explore the reasons behind what Mostyn J held to be the “colonial anachronism” leading to the lack of application of the 1980 Hague Convention, resulting in the judge engaging in more long-winded consideration of return on the basis of the child’s best interests. The lacuna in this field is notable; whilst the UK and Bermuda have enacted the 1980 Hague Convention in order to combat the wrongful removal and retention of children and to provide a clear and expeditious framework for resolving cases of child abduction, the authors highlight the judge’s view that this legal loophole cannot be justified and is counterintuitive to that aim. 


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The full article will be published in Issue 1 of International Family Law

 

 

 

 

 


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