The Hague Convention Article 12


Following on from our last post.

The most abused Article when it comes to International Child Abduction…..

The infamous ‘Article 12’ of the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction

Where a child has been wrongfully removed or retained in BREACH of Article 3 (full list of Articles on this link… ) and, LESS THAN A YEAR HAS ELAPSED FROM THE DATE OF THAT REMOVAL OR RETENTION AND THE COMMENCEMENT OF the proceedings before the judicial or administrative authority of the Contracting State where the child is, THE COURT MUST order the return of the child forthwith. THIS IS SO UNLESS ONE OF THE VERY LIMITED DEFENCES IS MADE OUT.

Where more than a year has elapse since the removal or retention the court shall also order the return of the child, unless it is demonstrated that the child is now settled in its new environment. [ARTICLE 12]

Now, there will be lawyers reading this saying to themselves, ooops our secret is out. Yes, many lawyers coach and instruct abductors to hide themselves and the child for 12 months just to try their luck at the 12 month defence. Now, CARI’s opinion is along with numerous lawyers we work hand in hand with on abduction cases, that hiding or concealing a child is harmful to a child.

Courts have discretion WHETHER OR NOT to return a settled child even after the one-year period expired.

Article 12 is beneficial in preventing the disruption of a child’s settled life when a parent whose gone along with a relocation changes their minds. BUT IS IT RIGHT THAT A PARENT WHO DISAPEARS WITH A CHILD AND CONCEALS IT SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS ARTICLE.

It’s CARI’S experience that Article 12 is abused by abducting parents who are aware of its provisions, because courts are not obliged to return the child. Some courts take the view that the price of the wrongdoing of the abductor should not be paid by the child who in all other respects may be settled and happy in their new home. Whilst we hope that the courts would conclude that a child cannot be settled and happy if they are living a life on the run, the lack of public awareness of the outcome of such cases leads parents to conceal a child.

At CARI we see a great deal of evidence that abducting parents are well aware of the provisions of Article 12 and how they can take advantage of living a clandestine life with their child with no regard for that child or the other parent they have left to ride the emotional rollercoaster. The left behind parent has to face the financial burden and heartache of losing a child, and on top of that nightmare deal with a system that allows an abductor to get away with it.

Governments, their charities and FB groups can say and preach what they like to the left behind parents, but the reality and truth is that a system that allows this is absolute garbage! We know it, they know it, but they just won’t tell you about it…..

It’s about time someone started telling left behind parents the truth. To many parents come to us after having received bad or incorrect advise from a charity or one of many of those FB groups out there preaching rubbish.

Courts need to get tough with these abducting parents and send these innocent children back home.
Disclaimer: Any information contained in this post relating to the legal system, is provided for general information only and based on CARI’S 16 year experience. Independent legal advice should be sought in for specific information relating to individual cases.

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