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04 FEB 2008

Professor William Duncan : The New Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance

Professor William Duncan, Deputy Secretary General of the Hague Conference on Private International Law

On 23 November 2007 more than 70 States, as well as the European Community, successfully concluded at The Hague, after negotiations which spanned four years, the new global Hague Convention of 23 November 2007 on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance, as well as its first Protocol on the Law Applicable to Maintenance Obligations. The new Convention holds the promise of a new era in the international recovery of maintenance one in which cross-border procedures, particularly in child support cases, should be simplified, swift, accessible and cost effective.

The whole Convention applies on a mandatory basis to child support cases. The Convention also covers spousal support, but its provisions on administrative co-operation (ie the system whereby applications may be channelled through Central Authorities) will only apply to spousal support as between States which have made a positive declaration to that effect. Contracting States may also by declaration bring within the scope of the Convention (or any part of it) any other maintenance obligations arising from a family relationship, parentage, marriage or affinity.

In this article Professor Duncan summaries the objectives and measures of the new Convention as well as providing a unique insight into the negotiations that preceded the signing of the Hague Convention. For the full article see [2008] International Family Law, Issue 1.

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