Cross border relations on child cases to warm up

Lawyers dealing with child abduction have welcomed the latest suggestions from the Lord Chancellor's Department on how to improve international relations in child abduction cases.

The LCD has asked all interested parties in Britain to help choose a list of topics for discussion at the Hague Conference meeting on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction to be held in March 1997.

All contracting states have been invited to put forward topics for the agenda.

In its consultation paper the LCD suggests legal aid should be available for those seeking the return of a child in a foreign jurisdiction, that rights of access should be improved and mediation encouraged.

Christopher Lee, an English solicitor in Spain who has been involved in a number of Hague Convention cases, said: “The importance of this consultation paper is the context in which it is issued.

“Everything must be done to encourage a meaningful dialogue between the convention countries to see where states are failing to produce the high level of cooperation that is needed to protect the abducted child – as well as the parent who is left behind.”

Kingsley Napley lawyer Jane Keir, a specialist in child abduction cases, particularly welcomed the LCD's recommendations for legal aid. She said: “There should be better communication in child abduction cases, especially between court judges. We need to lobby hard before March.”