Child Abduction and Custody Act 1985

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1985 c. 60


Child Abduction and Custody Act 1985

1985 CHAPTER 60

An Act to enable the United Kingdom to ratify two international Conventions relating respectively to the civil aspects of international child abduction and to the recognition and enforcement of custody decisions.

[25th July 1985]

Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

I International Child Abduction

Part I

International Child Abduction

S-1 The Hague Convention.

1 The Hague Convention.

(1) In this Part of this Act ‘the Convention’ means the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction which was signed at The Hague on 25th October 1980.

(2) Subject to the provisions of this Part of this Act, the provisions of that Convention set out in Schedule 1 to this Act shall have the force of law in the United Kingdom.

S-2 Contracting States.

2 Contracting States.

(1) For the purposes of the Convention as it has effect under this Part of this Act the Contracting States other than the United Kingdom shall be those for the time being specified by an Order in Council under this section.

(2) An Order in Council under this section shall specify the date of the coming into force of the Convention as between the United Kingdom and any State specified in the Order; and, except where the Order other vise provides, the Convention shall apply as between the United Kingdom and that State only in relation to wrongful removals or retentions occurring on or after that date.

(3) Where the Convention applies, or applies only, to a particular territory or particular territories specified in a declaration made by a Contracting State under Article 39 or 40 of the Convention references to that State in subsections (1) and (2) above shall be construed as references to that territory or those territories.

S-3 Central Authorities.

3 Central Authorities.

(1) Subject to subsection (2) below, the functions under the Convention of a Central Authority shall be discharged—

(a ) in England and Wales and in Northern Ireland by the Lord Chancellor; and

(b ) in Scotland by the Secretary of State.

(2) Any application made under the Convention by or on behalf of a person outside the United Kingdom may be addressed to the Lord Chancellor as the Central Authority in the United Kingdom.

(3) Where any such application relates to a function to be discharged under subsection (1) above by the Secretary of State it shall be transmitted by the Lord Chancellor to the Secretary of State and where such an application is addressed to the Secretary of State but relates to a function to be discharged under subsection (1) above by the Lord Chancellor the Secretary of State shall transmit it to the Lord Chancellor.

S-4 Judicial authorities.

4 Judicial authorities.

4. The courts having jurisdiction to entertain applications under the Convention shall be—

a ) in England and Wales or in Northern Ireland the High Court; and
b ) in Scotland the Court of Session
S-5 Interim powers.

5 Interim powers.

5. Where an application has been made to a court in the United Kingdom under the Convention, the court may, at any time before the application is determined, give such interim directions as it thinks fit for the purpose of securing the welfare of the child concerned or of preventing changes in the circumstances relevant to the determination of the application.

S-6 Reports.

6 Reports.

6. Where the Lord Chancellor or the Secretary of State is requested to provide information relating to a child under Article 7(d ) of the Convention he may—

a ) request a local authority or a probation officer to make a report to him in writing with respect to any matter which appears to him to be relevant
b ) request the Department of Health and Social Services for Northern Ireland to arrange for a suitably qualified person to make such a report to him
c ) request any court to which a written report relating to the child has been made to send him a copy of the report;

and such a request shall be duly complied with.

S-7 Proof of documents and evidence.

7 Proof of documents and evidence.

(1) For the purposes of Article 14 of the Convention a decision or determination of a judicial or administrative authority outside the United Kingdom may be proved by a duly authenticated copy of the decision or determination; and any document purporting to be such a copy shall be deemed to be a true copy unless the contrary is shown.

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1) above a copy is duly authenticated if it bears the seal, or is signed by a judge or officer, of the authority in question.

(3) For the purposes of Articles 14 and 30 of the Convention any such document as is mentioned in Article 8 of the Convention, or a certified copy of any such document, shall be sufficient evidence of anything stated in it.

S-8 Declarations by United Kingdom courts.

8 Declarations by United Kingdom courts.

8. The High Court or Court of Session may, on an application made for the purposes of Article 15 of the Convention by any person appearing to the court to have an interest in the matter, make a declaration or declarator that the removal of any child from, or his retention outside, the United Kingdom was wrongful within the meaning of Article 3 of the...

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