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International Family Law

The leading authority on international family law

22 MAY 2012

New Zealand - 'Reciprocal' orders – or not

Alex Ashmore and Emma Parsons

The Hague Convention is one of the few areas of practice involving children where there is a commitment to international comity - where at least in theory participants in the Court process can expect consistency in application for return of children in any of the various member countries. However this degree of internationalism can lead a Judge to go beyond simply ordering return of a child, instead falling into the temptation of making orders that extend beyond their jurisdiction.

In the context of Hague returns, orders have at times been observed to include defining place of residence, contact with the left behind parent upon return and even provision of economic support for the left behind parent. The basis for such orders being a short-circuiting of potential defences such as grave risk by assuring the returning parent that security is in place to allay the various fears upon return, and/or ensuring ‘safe-harbour' returns.

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