Children in Cross-Border Situations

Relocation, the 1996 Hague Convention and the Brussels IIa Regulation

Authored by: Rob George

Routledge Handbook of Family Law and Policy

Print publication date:  July  2020
Online publication date:  July  2020

Print ISBN: 9780367195526
eBook ISBN: 9781003058519
Adobe ISBN:


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One of the biggest policy challenges for family law in an increasingly globalized society is the creation of effective international legal instruments to protect children who are involved in cross-border situations. The global community has responded to these challenges in a number of ways. Some approaches have focused on particular policy challenges, such as international child abduction or international child adoption (both of which are addressed in Chapter 7.1 of this book), 1 while others have been broader in their scope. This chapter discusses the policy challenges inherent in formulating such international legal instruments and the policy challenges which arise in terms of their interpretation and implementation once in force. To explore these challenges, two case studies are used. The first, which looks at the challenge of agreeing an international approach in the first place, comes from the law of relocation disputes. The second, looking at the challenges arising once an international legal instrument is in place, is the working of the 1996 Hague Convention on Parental Responsibility and Protection of Children 2 and the 2003 Brussels IIa Regulation. 3 The Regulation makes for a particularly interesting example of policymaking: already in its second iteration, 4 the Regulation was ‘recast’ by the European Union in June 2019, 5 and the new version will enter force in August 2022. 6

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