Hague Convention - advice

This advice provides additional information regarding managing reports and other requests under the Hague Convention.

Document ID number 2007, version 1, 1 December 2015.

Introduction

See procedure Hague Convention - Child Protection for tasks that must be undertaken.

The international 'Hague Convention on jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition, enforcement and cooperation, in respect of parental responsibility and measures for the protection of children' (Hague Child Protection Convention) entered into force for Australia in 2003.

Requests

Requests for investigations, reports or other requirements under the convention are coordinated through a central authority in each signatory country or jurisdiction. In Victoria, requests are coordinated through Child Protection Specialist Intervention Unit within the Service Implementation and Support Branch. Requests under the convention are rare and will generally be communicated from Child Protection Specialist Intervention Unit to the child protection operations manager of the relevant division.

The Hague Conference on private international law is a global inter-governmental organisation that develops legal agreements between countries known as 'Hague Conventions'. Australia is party to several Hague Conventions including those relating to the abduction of children and to inter-country adoption.

The Hague Child Protection Convention applies only in those states who are signatories, which is a limited number.

The convention contains rules to determine jurisdiction in international child welfare matters and provides for the recognition and enforcement of measures taken in one state, in all other contracting states. The convention also deals with the exchange of information and collaboration between child protection authorities in different contracting states.

Categories of cases

Categories of cases that may come to the attention of Australian authorities under the convention are:

  • overseas authorities making requests to transfer child protection measures for children immigrating to Australia.
  • cases in which children subject to overseas protection measures are brought to Australia without informing Australian child protection authorities.
  • cases in which child protection proceedings are on foot in Australia but the child is removed to another country prior to the conclusion of the proceedings.
  • overseas authorities asking Australian authorities to check on the welfare of a child visiting Australia on a contact visit and provide a report.
  • parents in Australia seeking the transfer to Australian authorities of children who are in the care of overseas child protection authorities.
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