Child Abduction Central Authority – Figures for 2005
The Tánaiste and Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Mr Michael McDowell T.D., released figures today for 2005 regarding the number of cases received in his Department by the Central Authority for Child Abduction (the Authority). In 2005, 94 cases involving 154 children were received, representing an increase of 24 cases on 2004.
The Authority processed 127 cases in 2005, including 33 cases carried forward from 2004. These are divided between abductions into the State from other countries (70 incoming cases) and abductions from the State to other countries (57 outgoing cases).
The Authority operates under the Child Abduction and Enforcement of Custody Orders Act 1991. The Act gives the force of law in Ireland to the Hague and Luxembourg Conventions on child abduction and the purpose of those Conventions is to facilitate the return of children who have been taken from one contracting state to another against the wishes of a parent with custody rights. In addition, there is provision under the Luxembourg Convention for a custody or access order granted in one contracting state to be recognised or enforced in another contracting state.
As far as abductions between EU States are concerned, the Authority operates under the Brussels II bis Regulation (Council Regulation (EC) No 2201/2003 of 27 November 2003 concerning jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in matrimonial matters and the matters of parental responsibility) which came into force on 1 March, 2005.
Incoming Cases (70):
In 4 cases the High Court ordered the return of the children; in 6 cases the Court refused the return of the children; in 10 cases the children were either returned voluntarily or the parties reached an agreement; 6 applications were withdrawn; 1 case was forwarded to the HSE; 1 applicant did not qualify for legal aid; in 1 case assistance under Article 56 of the Brussels II bis Regulation (dealing with placement of a child from another EU member state in foster-care here) was given and 39 cases were awaiting resolution at the end of the year. Furthermore, 1 foreign access order was registered, and 1 application was refused as the father did not have rights of custody.
Outgoing Cases (57):
In 10 cases foreign courts ordered the return of the children; in 6 cases the foreign court refused the return of a child; in 3 cases the children were either returned voluntarily or the parties reached an agreement; 12 applications were withdrawn and 20 cases were awaiting resolution at the end of the year. In addition, 6 applications were refused by the Central Authority in the States concerned.
Of the new applications received by the Irish Central Authority in 2005, 51% involved the United Kingdom, 38% involved other EU Member States, 8% involved the USA and 3% involved other contracting states.
In the period, October 1991 to December 2005, of the operation of the Child Abduction and Enforcement of Custody Orders Act 1991 the total number of cases which have been the subject of application to the Central Authority is 1,095 and the number of children involved is 1,806.
Tabular details of the 2005 applications and an information note on the Conventions are attached.
13 October 2006
|Court order return||4||10||14|
|Court refused return||6||6||12|
|Voluntary return/settled by consent||10||3||13|
|Access order registered||1||-||1|
|Forwarded to HSE||1||-||1|
|Applicant did not qualify for legal aid||1||-||1|
|Article 56 assistance given||1||-||1|
|Application refused by Central Authority||1||6||7|
* Includes 33 cases carried forward from 2004
|England and Wales||26||22||48|
|Oct 1991–Dec 1992||42|
|Oct 1991–Dec 1992||80|
The Child Abduction and Enforcement of Custody Orders Act 1991 (which came into operation on the 1st of October 1991) gives the force of law to two international conventions:-
The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction
The European Convention on Recognition and Enforcement of Decisions concerning Custody of Children and on Restoration of Custody of Children. (the Luxembourg Convention)
The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is designed to ensure the immediate return of children who have been removed from one contracting state to another - usually by a parent in defiance of the wishes of the other parent. It is based on the principle that the custody of a child should be decided by courts in the state in which the child habitually resides.
The European Convention on Recognition and Enforcement of Decisions Concerning Custody of Children and on Restoration of Custody of Children (the Luxembourg Convention) is designed to ensure that custody and access orders granted in one contracting state are recognised and enforced in other contracting states. Recognition and enforcement disputes usually arise when one parent removes a child from one state to another in defiance of a court order granting custody or access rights to the other parent.
The Conventions provide for the establishment of a Central Authority in each contracting state that is a party to the Conventions to administer the procedures involved.
The Brussels II bis Regulation contains new provisions in relation to parental responsibility, including in relation to recognition and enforcements of judgments on access rights and in relation to child abduction. These changes are intended to enhance the role of the State of habitual residence in Hague Convention abduction cases, to speed up decisions in these cases and to simplify the procedure for recognition and enforcement. The Regulation applies to abductions between EU Member States.