ICACU application form guidance notes - Offices of Court Funds

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					                                                                  International Child Abduction
                                                                  & Contact Unit (ICACU)



  ICACU GUIDE TO MAKING AN APPLICATION
Please read this guide carefully before completing the ‘Central Authority for England and
Wales application form’.

You will need to complete the form if you are applying for either:

    1. the return of a child who has been abducted overseas under the 1980 Hague Convention
       (Revised Brussels II Regulation in EU Countries only)
    2. contact with a child overseas under the 1980 Hague Convention
    3. the registration and enforcement of an order overseas under either the Revised Brussels II
       Regulation or the 1980 European Convention (please note the ICACU can only deal with
       registration and enforcement applications to other European Countries and European Union
       Member States)


The International Child Abduction and Contact Unit
The International Child Abduction and Contact Unit (ICACU) is the Central Authority in England and
Wales for the operation of the 1980 Hague Convention, the Revised Brussels II Regulation and the
1980 European Convention.


The 1980 Hague Convention
The 1980 Hague Convention operates between the UK and 68 other countries. The 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 to or in another Hague Country.

Parents can also make applications under the Convention to secure contact arrangements with their
children if they live overseas and contact is being prevented.

The Revised Brussels II Regulation
Council Regulation (EC) No 2201/2003 of the European Parliament came into effect on 1 March 2005
(the Revised Brussels II Regulation). The Regulation applies to cases of parental child abduction within
the European Union (with the exception of Denmark) and to the registration and enforcement of orders
relating to parental responsibility and contact within the European Union.

The European Convention
Since 1 March 2005 this Convention only operates between Denmark and European countries which are
not members of the European Union. The Convention can be used for the enforcement of decisions
concerning custody of children and on restoration of custody of children. Orders made in European
Convention countries are recognised, but must be registered before being enforced. Enforcement may
not necessarily follow immediately after registration.

For more detailed information on 1980 Hague Convention, the Revised Brussels II Regulation and the
1980 European Convention please see our website at www.officialsolicitor.gov.uk or see our Advice
to Parents booklet. You can obtain a copy of the Advice to Parents booklet by contacting the ICACU.
Our contact details are set out at end of this leaflet.

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Guidance on completing the ‘Central Authority for England and Wales application form’

Section 1
Put a cross in the box which corresponds to the type of application that you are making. Please note
that you should only choose one option.

Request for Return
The conditions for applying for a return under the 1980 Hague Convention/Revised Brussels II
Regulation are as follows.

   1. the child(ren) must be aged under 16
   2. the child(ren) must have been habitually resident in the UK before they were removed or retained
      and taken to another Hague Convention country (a list of countries in which the 1980 Hague
      Convention is in force with the UK is included on page 4 of this leaflet)
   3. the permanent removal or retention of the child(ren) from the UK was without the consent or
      approval of the left-behind parent, who has parental responsibility for the child(ren) and has not
      been sanctioned by an order of the court

Request for Contact
The conditions for applying for securing contact under the 1980 Hague Convention are as follows.

   1. the child must be aged under 16
   2. the applicant parent is being denied access to the child
   3. the child resides in another contracting Hague Convention country (a list of countries in which the
      1980 Hague Convention is in force with the UK is included on page 4 of this leaflet)

Request for Registration and Enforcement of an existing court order
You must have an existing court order which gives you parental responsibility and/or contact with
respect to the child(ren).

If the orders were made in proceedings commenced after 1 March 2005 you will be able to enforce
those orders in all European Union countries other than Denmark, in which your child is living, under the
Revised Brussels II Regulation. You will need to obtain the appropriate certificate in accordance with
the Revised Brussels II Regulation from the court which issued the orders.

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. If the orders are not
enforceable under the Revised Brussels II Regulation, you may be able to register and enforce the
orders in the country in which your child is living under the European Convention.

A list of countries which the operate the Revised Brussels II Regulation and the European Convention is
included on page 5 of this leaflet.

If you are unsure as to whether you can make an application for Registration and Enforcement you
should contact your solicitor or the ICACU to discuss the circumstances of your case.


Sections 2 and 3: Details of the Child(ren) and parents
Please complete all the boxes as fully as possible. However, if you do not have the passport numbers
you can leave it blank as this information is not absolutely essential.


Section 4: Details of requesting individual or institution
Please complete all the boxes as fully as possible. You should only provide details of a solicitor if you
are actually instructing one in relation to this matter. You should also indicate whether you wish the
ICACU to correspond directly with you or your solicitor. If you wish the ICACU to correspond directly

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with your solicitor you should be aware that there could be cost implications for you. You should discuss
this with your solicitor.

If you are a local authority please provide the details of the individual within your legal department who
has conduct of the matter.


Section 5: Details of person alleged to have removed/retained/preventing contact
with child(ren) and current location of child(ren).
Please provide as much detail as possible, especially with respect to the location of the child(ren). Your
case could progress much more quickly if we are able to supply the foreign authorities with a complete
address or even full details of persons in the foreign country who may know the whereabouts of the
children. Land line telephone numbers and mobile telephone numbers can also be helpful.


Section 6(a): Date and circumstances of wrongful removal or retention.
You only need to complete this section if you are making an application for the return of your child(ren).
Please provide as much relevant information as possible for example the date the children left the
country and how they travelled. Were you given any indication of a possible removal before it happened
and have you had any contact with the abductor since they left. If it is a retention you need give details
on when and how the children were to be returned and whether any formal agreements were put in
place.


6(b): Factual or legal grounds justifying the request for return of child(ren)
This section is very important as it forms the basis for your application. 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

The law which applies to rights of custody in England and Wales is the Children Act 1989 which refers to
rights of custody as parental responsibility. Parental responsibility is defined as all the rights, duties,
powers, responsibilities and authority which by law, a parent of a child has in relation to the child and
their property. This includes the right to determine the child’s place of residence. Therefore, if a child is
taken by one parent, out of the jurisdiction to another Hague Convention country without the consent of
the other parent, the removal is in breach of the rights of custody of that parent and the removal is
considered wrongful within the meaning of the Hague Convention.

In England and Wales when a child’s parents are married they both share parental responsibility for their
child. When they are not married, only the mother automatically has parental responsibility. As from 1
December 2003, if both parents are present when the birth of the child is registered under the Births
Deaths and Marriages act 1953, an unmarried father will also automatically acquire parental
responsibility. An unmarried father can also obtain parental responsibility either by court order or formal
agreement.

Please ensure that your application is accompanied by either a copy of your marriage certificate or
divorce decree. If you have a court order which gives you parental responsibility or a formal parental
responsibility agreement you should include a copy of that. If you have parental responsibility by virtue
of the change in law on 1 December 2003, you should include a copy of the child(ren)’s birth
certificate(s) which includes details of the parents.


Section 7(a): Circumstances relating to the prevention of contact with child(ren).
You only need to complete this section if you are making an application for contact with your child(ren).
Please provide as much information as possible regarding the circumstances of the prevention of
contact. If you have any documentary evidence of the refusal, for example emails, they can be helpful.


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7(b): Proposed arrangements for contact.
Please provide your proposal for the contact you would like to have with your child(ren). You need to be
very specific in your proposal for example, do you want to have regular telephone contact or written
contact via email? If you would like to have visiting contact during the school holidays you need to
indicate which country you would like the contact to take place in and you also need to think about travel
costs. For example you may have to fund the travel costs yourself.


Section 8: Civil court proceedings that have concluded or are in progress
Please provide details of any relevant court proceedings that have concluded or are still ongoing both in
and outside England and Wales. Please also provide copies of any orders which have been made
within those proceedings.


Section 9: List of supporting documents attached
Please list all the supporting documents that you have referred to in your application. Remember you
should include copies of any relevant court orders, statements or affidavits, and recent colour
photographs of the abductor and the child(ren). Please also include copies of the child(ren)’s birth
certificate and your marriage certificate (full A4 size copies which include details of both parents) or
divorce decree.


Section 10: Applicant’s authorisation
Please sign and date the form.


Central Authority contact details
Scotland and Northern Ireland have different legal systems from England and Wales and the law in
Scotland and Northern Ireland also differs in some respects so for purposes of the Hague Convention
the UK is split into England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and each have their own Central
Authority.


Central Authority for England and Wales
The International Child Abduction and Contact Unit      The International Child Abduction and Contact Unit
Office of the Official Solicitor                        is open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm. In an
81 Chancery Lane, London, WC2A 1DD                      emergency outside these hours you should contact
DX0012 London Chancery Lane                             reunite who will provide an emergency contact
Tel: 020 7911 7047/7045                                 number Tel 0116 2556 234.
Fax:020 7911 7248
e-mail: enquiries@offsol.gsi.gov.uk
website: www.officialsolicitor.gov.uk


Central Authority for Northern Ireland                  Central Authority for Scotland
Northern Ireland Court Service                          Scottish Executive Justice Department
Civil and Family Branch                                 Private International Law Branch
21st Floor, Windsor House                               St. Andrew's House
9-15 Bedford Street                                     EDINBURGH EH1 3DG
BELFAST BT2 7LT                                         Tel: 0131 244 4827
tel.: +44 (28) 90 328 594 ext. 2289                     Fax: 0131 244 4848
fax: +44 (28) 90 314 854




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                                            1980 Hague Convention Countries
                                     Argentina                            Italy
                                     Australia                            Latvia
                                     Austria                              Lithuania
                                     Bahamas                              Luxembourg
                                     Belarus                              Macau
                                     Belgium                              Macedonia
                                     Belize                               Malta
                                     Bosnia/Herzegovina                   Mauritius
                                     Brazil                               Mexico
                                     Bulgaria                             Monaco
                                     Burkina Faso                         Montenegro
                                     Canada                               Netherlands
                                     Chile                                New Zealand
                                     Colombia                             Norway
                                     Costa Rica                           Panama
                                     Croatia                              Peru
                                     Cyprus (southern)                    Poland
                                     Czech Republic                       Portugal
                                     Denmark                              Romania
                                     Ecuador                              St Kitts and Nevis
                                     El Salvador                          Serbia
                                     Estonia                              Slovakia
                                     Fiji                                 Slovenia
                                     Finland                              South Africa
                                     France                               Spain
                                     Georgia                              Sweden
                                     Germany                              Switzerland
                                     Greece                               Turkey
                                     Honduras                             Turkmenistan
                                     Hong Kong                            USA
                                     Hungary                              Uruguay
                                     Iceland                              Uzbekistan
                                     Republic of Ireland                  Venezuela
                                     Israel                               Zimbabwe



                                             The Revised Brussels II Countries
                                    Austria                               Latvia
                                    Belgium                               Lithuania
                                    Bulgaria                              Luxemburg
                                    Cyprus                                Malta
                                    Czech Republic                        Netherlands
                                    Estonia                               Poland
                                    Finland                               Portugal
                                    France                                Romania
                                    Germany                               Slovakia
                                    Greece                                Slovenia
                                    Hungary                               Spain
                                    Republic of Ireland                   Sweden
                                    Italy                                 United Kingdom

Please note that the above lists include only countries in which the 1980 Hague Convention is in force with the UK at present or for Revised
Brussels II, countries which are members of the EU with the exception of Denmark.


                                          1980 European Convention Countries
                                    Austria                               Lithuania
                                    Belgium                               Luxembourg
                                    Bulgaria                              Macedonia
                                    Cyprus                                Malta
                                    Czech Republic                        Moldova
                                    Denmark                               Netherlands
                                    Estonia                               Norway
                                    Finland                               Poland
                                    France                                Portugal
                                    Germany                               Romania
                                    Greece                                Serbia/Montenegro
                                    Hungary                               Slovakia
                                    Iceland                               Spain
                                    Republic of Ireland                   Sweden
                                    Italy                                 Switzerland
                                    Latvia                                Turkey
                                    Liechtenstein




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