Commencement of the Protection of Children (Hague Convention) Act 2000

The Minister for Justice and Law Reform, Mr Dermot Ahern, T.D., today announced that he has signed the commencement order for the Protection of Children (Hague Convention) Act 2000. The Act will come into operation on 1 January 2011.

The Act gives the force of law to the 1996 Hague Convention on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Co-operation in Respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children. The Minister said "I welcome the coming into force of this, the third of the Hague Children’s Conventions. It will bring enhanced protection to children in transnational families in relation to a wide range of civil measures of protection concerning children, including orders concerning parental responsibility and contact, public measures of protection or care, and matters relating to the protection of children’s property."

A Central Authority for the International Protection of Children in the Department of Justice and Law Reform will perform the functions arising from the Convention. The functions of the central authority are of an administrative nature involving co-operation with the central authorities of other contracting states and providing information to authorities in other jurisdictions on the law and services in the State relating to the protection of children.

Areas of co-operation include providing assistance in locating a child who may be in need of protection, providing a social report on the situation of the child, facilitating agreed solutions for the protection of the child or the property of the child on the request of another contracting state.

Ireland was among the first states to legislate for the Convention but ratification of it by EU states was delayed pending resolution of issues of EU competence and authorisation.

31 December 2010


NOTES FOR EDITORS

The Convention of 19 October 1996 on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Co-operation in respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children, is broad in scope, covering a wide range of civil measures of protection concerning children, from orders concerning parental responsibility and contact to public measures of protection or care, and from matters of representation to the protection of children’s property.

Ratification of the Convention
 
Following recent EU authorisation, Ireland in common with other member states ratified the convention in 2010. The Convention will come into force in Ireland on 1 January 2011. The Order fixes a corresponding date to commence the Act of 2000.

The objectives of the Convention are
:
· to determine the state whose authorities have jurisdiction to take measures directed to the protection of the person or property of the child;
· to determine which state's law is to be applied by such authorities;
· to provide for the recognition and enforcement of such measures in all Contracting States;
· to establish co-operation between the authorities of the Contracting States in order to achieve the purposes of the Convention.

The term ‘parental responsibility’ as used in the Convention includes parental authority, or any analogous relationship of authority determining the rights, powers and responsibilities of parents, guardians or other legal representatives in relation to the person or the property of the child. The Convention applies to children from the moment of their birth until they reach the age of 18. The Convention does not affect the application of the 1980 Hague Convention on Child Abduction to which Ireland and all other EU States are Parties.

Measures covered by the Convention
 
Measures covered by the Convention include in particular
· the attribution, exercise, termination or restriction of parental responsibility as well as its delegation;
· rights of custody; rights of access; guardianship;
· the placement of the child in a foster family or in institutional care.

The co-operation provisions of the Convention provide the basic framework for the exchange of information and for collaboration between administrative (child protection) authorities in Contracting States.

Three Hague Children’s Conventions have been developed over the last twenty-five years, a fundamental purpose being to provide the practical machinery to enable States which share a common interest in protecting children to co-operate together to do so. The first of these modern Hague Children’s Conventions is the 1980 Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction under which many States now co-operate together to protect children from the harmful effects of their wrongful removal or retention abroad. The 1993 Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption, designed to regulate intercountry adoption to protect the interests of the children concerned, is now in force in all major receiving countries and many countries of origin.


The Contact details for the Central Authority for International Child Protection are:
Department of Justice and Law Reform
Bishop’s Square
Redmond’s Hill
Dublin 2
Phone: + 353 1 479-0200
Fax: + 353 1 479-0201
e-mail: internationalchildprotect@justice.ie