FCO fights child abduction with human rights overhaul

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) has extended an existing panel on human rights to include child abduction cases.

Members of the panel, made up of three solicitors and three barristers with family law expertise, will work on a pro bono basis when required to help UK nationals involved in child abduction cases.

Those appointed include James Maguire of Manchester’s Cobbetts and barrister Robin Spon-Smith from 1 Hare Court.

Such cases may include the abduction of a child by one parent to countries that do not recognise international agreements, such as the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

If the nation to which the child has been abducted is not a signatory to the convention, extracting the child can often be difficult.

The advisers will work to establish contact with the child and if possible repatriate the minor to the UK. However, it cannot get involved in existing court proceedings.

Nicola Pollitt, head of the FCO’s child abduction unit, said prospective panel members were invited to send in their CVs and were selected to provide a mix of expertise.