40th Anniversary of the 1980 Hague Convention

Acknowledging 40 years of the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction

ISS Australia wishes to acknowledge the recent 40th anniversary of the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

The purpose of the 1980 Hague Convention is to return abducted children forthwith to their country of habitual residence, through the cooperation of authorities established in each of the signatory states and their judiciaries. 40 years on from its inception, the 1980 Hague Convention remains the principal source of relief for parents seeking the return of an abducted child from another member state.[1]

In 1980, an international group of legislators of the Hague permanent bureau of private international law finalised the details of a multilateral treaty aimed at deterring International Parental Child Abductions[2].This was the inception of the 1980 Hague Convention. Predictions made with respect to trends in cross border relationships and ease of international travel have become more valid over time. We have also seen the typical demographics and circumstances of an abduction shift over time, so that now most abductions occur by a primary caregiver seeking to return to their country of origin.  

Separation between a parent and a child can have lasting impacts on the wellbeing of the children in the centre of international parental child abductions, and ISS Australia recognises the importance of supporting families while they resolve their parenting dispute.  

ISS Australia, now in its 15th year as a specialist service supporting parents affected by international parental child abduction, sees parents with exceptionally varied circumstances successfully using the 1980Hague Convention to secure the return of (or access to) a child overseas. The success of the 1980 Hague Convention can be measured by the reunion of parent and child, the negotiation of a workable cross-border parenting plan or even a paving of the way for domestic courts to apply best interest principles in making domestic family court orders.

ISS Australia is committed to supporting the implementation of the 1980 Hague Convention in Australia and to drawing attention to the importance of protecting children from any harm caused by international parental child abduction.

[1] A secondary remedy under the 1980 Hague Convention is to restore access to a child living in another member state where access is being denied by another party.

[2] Defined as a child being wrongfully removed or retained outside their country of habitual residence in breach of a parent’s rights of custody.

~Ben Hughes, Lawyer