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08-05-2009, 11:01 PM
Please post all information and resources relating to Laws & Alerts
*A special thanks to Patience & curves for info posted*
08-05-2009, 11:29 PM
Child Rescue Alert:
CHILD RESCUE ALERT
Child Rescue Alert ("CRA") is a voluntary protocol between the police service and media organisations to seek assistance from the public where there are reasonable grounds to believe a child has been abducted and will be seriously harmed. The CRA alerts the public about the abducted child through media outlets.
The use of a CRA is solely to preserve a child’s life by finding the whereabouts of the child believed to have been abducted.
A CRA recognises the unique nature of child abduction and the importance of locating the child as soon as possible. The CRA is not to be used for any other purpose.
Activating a Child Rescue Alert
The following four criteria must all be met before a CRA can be issued to the media:
1. The child is apparently under 18 years old;
2. There is reasonable evidence that the child has been kidnapped or abducted;
3. There is reasonable belief that the child is in imminent danger of serious harm or death;
4. There is sufficient information available to enable the public to assist police in locating the child.
A CRA should not be implemented for incidents that do not fulfil all these criteria – for example, where a child is missing but there is no evidence of kidnap or abduction.
The authorisation to implement a CRA must be given by a Senior Police Officer, at a level no less than the Senior Investigative Officer or Police Superintendent.
The Senior Police Officer will determine the regional scope of the CRA. The CRA will be on a regional level, not a national level.
Once the Senior Police Officer is satisfied the criteria has been met, the Police Force (“the Force”) seeking the CRA will directly contact:
• the appropriate regional newsroom in the case of television;
• the appropriate local radio stations in the case of radio ;
• the appropriate regional newspapers in the case of newspaper publishers.
The point of contact in the media organisation would normally be the newsdesk.
The Force will provide the media organisation with written details of the CRA.
Example of information to be forwarded to the media:
"6 year old boy abducted from Oxford Bus Station at 1.45pm today. He is described as wearing a Leicester City football top with ginger hair.
The offender forced him into a white transit van, with ladders on the roof. He has long greasy hair, aged 40-45 with dark clothing
Any information – please call Thames Valley Police 0123 456789”
The Force will, wherever possible, nominate a press officer who would be expected to deal solely with queries concerning the CRA and would be the single point of contact. Media issues not relating to the CRA should normally be dealt with by a different person.
The press officer dealing with the CRA will contact each media organisation to confirm receipt of the CRA and will provide updates and further information about the status of the alert as soon as possible.
Notification of cancellation of the alert will be provided by the same process used for launching the alert, i.e. By the press officer contacting the newsroom. Notification of the cancellation of the alert will be completed as soon as it is practical to do so.
Each Force will nominate a point of contact for general/ ongoing issues concerning CRA's in their area. Each Force will check its procedures at 6 monthly intervals and the system tested annually.
The overall point of contact for media policy issues about the protocol is the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) Press Office.
Issues relating to a specific incident should be addressed to the investigating force’s Senior Press Office involved in the investigation
It is recognised that time is of the essence to broadcast/ publish the CRA once it is received.
On receipt of a CRA:
In the case of the broadcast media, the broadcaster will use best endeavours to broadcast the CRA as soon as possible at appropriate intervals until notified by Force to cancel the CRA.
The print media will use best endeavours to publish the CRA in relevant editions of newspapers and on their websites
The final decision to broadcast/ publish is a matter for the broadcaster/ publisher. This decision to broadcast/ publish may depend on factors such as the nature of the audience and technical and editorial considerations.
The final wording on what is broadcast/ published and when it is broadcast/ published is in the editorial control of the broadcaster/ publisher
Media organisations will make suitable arrangements to co-operate with annual testing of the procedures and provide appropriate training to their staff about the CRA Protocol.
10-02-2009, 08:37 AM
The Presumption of Death Bill was passed by the Assembly on 27th April 2009. The Bill creates a new court procedure whereby any person may apply to the High court for a declaration that a person who is missing may be presumed dead. The application can be made in cases where there is evidence that the missing person has died or has not been known to be alive for a period of seven years. If the High court makes the declaration of presumed death the Registrar General will enter the details of the missing person in a new Register of Presumed Deaths.
10-02-2009, 08:46 AM
In England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, child abduction involves both the civil and criminal law. However, once a child has been removed from the United Kingdom, parental abduction is usually treated as a civil matter.
The Child Abduction and Custody Act 1985 and Part VI of the Family Proceedings Rules 1991 give effect to the Hague and European Conventions in English law, the Legal Aid Act 1988 and the Civil Legal Aid (General) Regulations 1989 provide financial support for litigants, the Family Law Act 1986 has provisions for making orders for the protection of children and the Child Abduction Act 1984 makes it a criminal offence for a person connected with a child to take or send the child out of the United Kingdom without the appropriate consent. A parent can also be charged with the common law offence of kidnapping.
10-02-2009, 08:50 AM
The United Kingdom is party to an international convention under which legal procedures are agreed with a number of other countries to assist in the return of a child who has been abducted. The convention is the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction
The Hague Convention works on the principle of returning children aged under 16 years who are wrongfully removed or retained away from their country of habitual residence. In order to be considered wrongful, a removal or retention must be in breach of rights of custody which are actually being exercised by a person, an institution or any other body under the law of the state in which the child was habitually resident immediately before the removal or retention.
Under the Hague Convention courts are required to order the return of a child wrongfully removed or retained away from their country of habitual residence, there are however a number of grounds on which a return order can be refused. These grounds include; the court being satisfied that to return the child would expose him/her to a grave risk of physical or psychological harm, or otherwise place her/him in an intolerable situation; the child objects to being returned and is mature enough to have his/her views taken into account. The court may also refuse to return a child if the applicant was not actually exercising rights of custody at the time of removal or consented to or subsequently acquiesced in the removal or retention.
Hague Convention Countries:
Federal Republic of Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Finland, France, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Norway, the Netherlands, Portugal, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Sweden and Switzerland
10-02-2009, 08:52 AM
The revised Brussles ll regulation:
This is Council Regulation (EC) No 2201/2003 and came into effect across the European Union on 1 March 2005 (the Revised Brussels II Regulation). The Regulation applies to cases of parental child abduction within the European Union and to the enforcement of orders for contact or access within the European Union.
The Regulation underpins the Hague Convention by imposing strict time limits in cases of parental abduction. It gives greater emphasis than the Hague Convention to hearing the views of children provided this is appropriate for their age and maturity. It also requires that the left behind parent be given an opportunity to be heard before a decision not to return a child is made and the Regulation narrows the grounds on which an order refusing to return a child can be made. Perhaps most notably, the Regulation provides an opportunity for the left behind parent to litigate the issue of residence/custody in his/her own country if a return order is not made. If the left behind parent in this situations seeks and obtains an order that requires the return of the child, that order must be enforced in the country in which the child is located notwithstanding the earlier non return order.
10-02-2009, 08:53 AM
The European Convention:
From 1 March 2005 the European Convention will only operate with countries which are not members of the European Union and with respect to some orders which pre date the Revised Brussels II Regulation.
The European Convention is rarely used in abduction cases because the it only operates where an order already exists. It has more frequent application to the enforcement of access orders.
Orders made in European Convention countries are recognised, but must be registered before being enforced. Enforcement may not necessarily follow immediately after registration. There are a number of grounds on which enforcement can be opposed. These are set out in articles 9 and 10 of the European Convention.
10-02-2009, 08:55 AM
Operation of the Conventions:
Operation of the Conventions
This note, which has been prepared by the Lord Chancellor's International Child Abduction and Contact Unit (the ICACU), describes in outline the purpose and operation of two international conventions dealing with international child abduction to which the United Kingdom is a party. For information about abductions within the European Union ( other than Denmark) see information on Council Regulation (EU) 2201/2003 (Revised Brussels II). For information on non Convention countries see the general index on this site.
Both the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and the European Convention on Recognition and Enforcement of Decisions concerning Custody of Children and on Restoration of Custody of Children have the same purpose; to deter international child abduction and to secure the return of children wrongfully removed or kept away from their home country. Although they are both founded on the well- recognised general principles that decisions about the care and welfare of children are best made in the country with which they have the closest connection, and that orders made in one state should be recognised and enforced in another, the two Conventions have different purposes.
The Hague Convention works on the principle of returning children who are wrongfully removed or retained away from their country of habitual residence. A wrongful removal or retention is defined as being in breach of rights of custody which are actually being exercised by a person, an institution or any other body under the law of the state in which the child was habitually resident immediately before the removal or retention. Although under the Convention courts are required to order the return of a child wrongfully removed or retained away from its country of habitual residence, there are a number of grounds on which a return order can be refused. These grounds include the court being satisfied that returning the child would expose him to a grave risk of physical or psychological harm, or otherwise place the child in an intolerable situation, the child objecting to being returned and being old and mature enough to have his views taken into account. The court may also refuse to return a child if the applicant was not actually exercising rights of custody at the time of removal or subsequently consented to or acquiesced in the removal or retention. Since 1 March 2005 abductions within the European Union (other than Denmark) will be governed by the Hague Convention as modified by Council Regulation (EU) 2201/2003 (Revised Brussels II). For information on Revised Brussels II see the general index on this site.
The European Convention works on the principle of the mutual recognition and enforcement of orders made in the contracting state. Accordingly, there must be in existence an order of a court or other authority with the necessary jurisdiction in a Convention Country, which can be recognised and enforced in the receiving state.
In each contracting state there is an administrative body, known as the Central Authority, whose duty is to send and receive requests for the return of children or the enforcement of orders, to provide information about the law of their state, exchange information and generally further the objects of the Conventions.
The Convention countries all have different legal systems, and therefore although each country will apply the same Convention principle, their procedures may be very different. Countries have different ways of hearing cases and taking evidence. Some provide financial assistance to litigants, and others do not. In some countries it is the Central Authority that makes the application for the return order, in others the application is made by the aggrieved parent by local lawyers or, for example, the public prosecutor.
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Operation of the Revised Brussels II Regulation
Child Abduction and Enforcement of Parental Responsibility Orders within the European Union
Council Regulation (EC) No 2201/2003 of the European Parliament will have effect from 1 March 2005 (Revised Brussels II Regulation). The Revised Brussels II Regulation which is also known as Brussels II bis and Brussels IIa will be applied to cases of parental child abduction within the European Union and to the enforcement of orders for contact or access within the European Union.
From 1 March 2005 British and other European Union orders dealing with parental responsibility will be enforceable throughout the European Union with the exception of Denmark. The legislation which applies is Council Regulation (EC) No2201/2003 and is commonly referred to as Revised Brussels II, Brussels II(a) or Brussels II bis. If the order you are seeking to enforce was made in proceedings commenced after 1 March 2005 it will be directly enforceable throughout the European Union. If the order was made in proceedings commenced prior to that date it may be enforceable under the transitional provisions of the Regulation. Orders made in Scotland and Northern Ireland are also covered by the Regulation. The Revised Brussels II Regulation has also introduced a fairer and more streamlined process for dealing with parental abductions within Europe.
The Revised Brussels II Regulation does not apply to Denmark.
Abduction cases under the Revised Brussels II Regulation
The Revised Brussels II Regulation will apply to cases where a child has been abducted to or from a country within European Union, other than Denmark, from 1 March 2005. For cases concerning England and Wales you should contact the International Child Abduction and Contact Unit (formerly the Child Abduction Unit) which is the Central Authority for England and Wales. For cases involving Scotland and Northern Ireland you should contact the respective Central Authorities. See contact details
In England and Wales, applications under the Revised Brussels II Regulation will processed largely in the same way as applications under the Hague Convention.
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Where a child has been abducted to England and Wales from a country within the European Union, other than Denmark, the Central Authority of the country concerned will forward an application to the Central Authority for England and Wales. The Central Authority for England and Wales will then forward the application to an experienced solicitor who will make all the necessary applications to the court.
All incoming cases will be dealt with in London by a High Court judge of Family Division in the same way as cases under the Hague Convention. The court will exercise control over the progress of the case, and the litigants so that time limits in the Revised Brussels II Regulation can be met.
Non means tested (free) legal aid will be available for incoming return applications under the Revised Brussels II Regulation.
Where a child has been abducted from England and Wales, the parent seeking a return will forward their application to the ICACU. Once the ICACU receives the application, it is sent off, with translations if necessary, to the Central Authority of the country to which the child has been abducted. Thereafter, the ICACU will monitor the progress of the case, liase with the Central Authority of the requested state and the applicant, give advice about English law and do all that it can to help bring the case to a successful conclusion.
In order to come under the Revised Brussels II Regulation the case must meet the same criteria as for the Hague Convention. That is :
the child must be under 16
the child must have been habitually resident in a Hague Convention Country prior to the abduction
the applicant must have and have been exercising rights of custody in relation to the child
the abduction must have taken place after the Hague Convention came into force between the United Kingdom and the country to which the child has been taken
the abduction must have been from or to a country within the European Union other than Denmark and the application for return must be made after 1 March 2005
The cost of an application for the return of a child is often a matter of concern to parents. In most countries no payment for legal proceedings is required for outgoing applications made under the Hague Convention and this will remain the case under the Revised Brussels II Regulation. The International Child Abduction and Contact Unit will be able to give you information regarding legal costs in specific countries.
Non means tested (free) legal aid is available to meet the applicant's legal costs for incoming applications for the return of a child from the England and Wales.
Expenses incurred when returning the child are not covered but applicants may request that an order for travel costs be made against the person who has removed/retained the child. The court will consider the request but is not bound to make such an order.
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Contact with your children within the European Union
From 1 March 2005 orders dealing with parental responsibility including contact with children made in the United Kingdom and any other European Union Country other than Denmark, will be enforceable throughout the European Union with the exception of Denmark. The legislation which applies is Council Regulation (EC) No2201/2003 and is commonly referred to as Revised Brussels II. If the order you are seeking to enforce was made in proceedings commenced after 1 March 2005 it will be directly enforceable throughout the European Union. If the order was made in proceedings commenced prior to that date it may be enforceable under the transitional provisions of the Revised Brussels II Regulation. Orders made in Scotland and Northern Ireland are also covered by the Revised Brussels II Regulation. Orders made in the Crown Dependencies and the Overseas Dependant Territories are not covered by the Revised Brussels II Regulation.
You have existing contact orders
If the orders were made in proceedings commenced after 1 March 2005 you will be able to enforce those orders in the European Union country in which you child is living (other than Denmark) under the Revised Brussels II Regulation. You will need to obtain a certificate from the court which issued the orders. You should contact your solicitor or the Central Authority. If you are seeking to enforce orders in Denmark you may be able to enforce them under the European Convention.
If the orders were made in proceedings commenced prior to 1 March 2005 the orders may still be enforceable under the transitional provisions of the Revised Brussels II Regulation. You should contact your solicitor or the relevant Central Authority to discuss the circumstances.
If the orders are not enforceable under the Revised Brussels II Regulation, you may be able to register the orders in the country in which your child is living under the European Convention.
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You do not have existing contact orders
You may be able to make an application under article 21 of the Hague Convention if your child is located in a Hague convention country. If not you will need to establish contact orders in the country in which your child is living. You should seek advice from the relevant Central Authority.
Cases in England and Wales which come under either the Hague Convention, the Revised Brussels II Regulation or the European Convention will be handled by the International Child Abduction and Contact Unit. If the Unit is unable to secure voluntary compliance with the orders the application will be forwarded to a solicitors with experience in these matters. The solicitors will then take instructions, secure legal aid if you qualify and commence any necessary proceedings.
If your case does not come under the Conventions or the Regulation you will need to secure the services of a lawyer in the country in which your child is living. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office will be able to offer assistance in locating a solicitor and may be able to provide similar assistance to that provided in the case of abduction to a non Hague Convention country. The contact details of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office are set out below.
Foreign & Commonwealth Office
Old Admiralty Building
London, SW1A 2PA
Tel: 020 7008 0200
10-02-2009, 08:58 AM
Child abduction within the UK
Scotland and Northern Ireland have different legal systems from England and Wales, and the law in Scotland and Northern Ireland differs in some respects. In the past these legal differences caused conflicts of jurisdiction where proceedings could be brought in respect of the same child in different parts of the United Kingdom at the same time. Orders made in one court were not necessarily recognised or enforceable in other courts which made it possible for parents to ignore an order obtained in one part of the United Kingdom, remove the child to another part and institute fresh proceedings there in the hope of obtaining a different result.
Part I of the Family Law Act of 1986 was passed to deal with these problems. The Act aims to prevent competing proceedings being commenced in two different parts of the United Kingdom at the same time. It also allows orders made in one part of the United Kingdom to be recognised and enforceable in all parts. This includes the Isle of Man but does not include the Channel Islands nor the Overseas Dependent Territories.
The party wishing to have an order enforced in another part of the United Kingdom should apply to the court which made the order. That court will then forward the papers to the appropriate court in the other part of the United Kingdom, which will then register it.
A court in one part of the country may order that a child may not be removed from the United Kingdom or part of it which the court may specify. If the child is removed in contravention of an order, the child has to be returned from where he or she was taken and only the court which made the original order may give consent to the child being removed from the United Kingdom.
A court may also order passports to be surrendered, the disclosure of the child's whereabouts or particulars of other proceedings concerning him or her and may give special authority to an officer of the court or constable to ensure the recovery of the child.
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The Crown Dependencies and the Dependent Territories
The United Kingdom is responsible for 3 Crown Dependencies and 14 Overseas Dependent Territories. The Crown Dependencies are the Isle of Man and the islands of Guernsey and Jersey know collectively as the Channel Islands. The Overseas Dependent Territories are Anguilla; Bermuda; the British Antarctic Territory; the British Virgin Islands; the Cayman Islands; Gibraltar; Monserrat; Pitcairn Island, St Helena and dependencies (Asuncion and Tristan Da Cahuna) South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands; the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Orders made in the Isle of Man are recognised and enforceable throughout the United Kingdom and vice versa but orders made in the Channel Islands and the Dependant Territories are not. However, such orders are likely to be given considerable weight in the respective courts.
The Hague Convention has been extended to the Isle of Man, the Cayman Islands, the Falkland Islands, Monserat and Bermuda. Local specialist legal advice should be taken in the event of an abduction between the Channel Islands or the Dependant Territories and other parts of the United Kingdom.
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