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International Family Law

The leading authority on international family law

29 AUG 2012

Australia - Defences to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of Child Abduction in Australia

Sally Nicholes

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of Child Abduction (the Convention) is an international treaty which provides for the prompt return of children who have been abducted from one member nation to another. Australia signed and ratified the Convention on 29 October 1986. The Family Law (Child Abduction Convention) Regulations 1986 give legislative force in Australia to the Convention in addition to discrete sections of the Family Law Act 1975. Currently there are a total of 87 signatories to the Convention.

There are several exceptions to the otherwise mandatory immediate return of a child acknowledged under the Convention. The Australian courts have historically adopted a narrow view of the defences. However, recent decisions suggest that the scope of the defences is expanding.

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