Duncan Lewis

Child abduction law

Date: (18 January 2013)    |    

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In the UK child abduction could be construed as a civil as well as a criminal matter but if a child is removed from the United Kingdom especially if it is a parental abduction when a parent is involved in removing the child without the consent of the other parent then the case usually treated under civil law.
The Legal Aid Act 1988 and the Civil Legal Aid (General) Regulations 1989 provide financial support for litigants. The family Law Act 1984 provides for orders protecting children and the Child Abduction Act 1984 makes it a criminal offence for a person connected to a child to take or send the child out of the UK without proper consent. Even a parent can be charged with common law offence of kidnapping.
The Hague and European Convention countries are governed by the Child Abduction and Custody Act 1985 and Part IV of the Family Proceedings Rules 1991, UK being the signatory to the convention.
If you are concerned that your spouse is trying to abduct your child or remove the child out of the UK permanently you need to take the help of child abduction lawyer who could take orders prohibiting it, or a residence order and or a Parental Responsibility order whichever would be appropriate in your case. Orders would prohibit the child to be taken out of the UK and to that effect could ask you to surrender the child’s passport.
The other help a lawyer could do is to help you alert the police and could provide the details of your child to the relevant authorities such as the Passport Agency and all ports and border agencies. In case the other parent has dual citizenship your family law solicitor or child abduction lawyer would help you to draft a letter to the embassy or consulate of any other country asking them not to issue a passport to the concerned child if applied for. They may comply but they are not legally obliged to do so.
Abduction to a convention country
If a child is taken out of the UK to a Hague Convention country or European Convention an application could be made to these countries for returning the child and if the child was being brought up in the UK then there is a greater chance that the child would be returned as the convention countries believe and recognize that child’s best interests lie where they have grown up.
Abduction to a non-convention country
If the child is taken to a country which do not follow any agreement or follows other international agreements child abduction lawyers normally take help or instruct specialist child abduction lawyers in that particular country to fight the case under those laws.
Take the help of a law firm with a committed team of family law solicitors who have experts in child abduction matters.
Approach your lawyer as soon as possible because no time could be lost and every hour counts when potential child abduction could be prevented it would be saving money and the trauma that could be avoided if the child is removed from the UK.