Cross-EU border family law from 1 January 2021: guidance for legal professionals

Updated guidance for legal professionals on cross-EU border family law (including divorce and child maintenance) from 1 January 2021.

3. International parental child abduction

3.1 Current law

The main provisions of the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction are incorporated into the law of the UK jurisdictions by the Child Abduction and Custody Act 1985. All EU member states are party to the 1980 Hague Convention and use it with the UK. This provides a summary procedure for children wrongfully removed or retained away from their country of habitual residence to be returned there, so that long-term decisions about the future of the child can be made (abduction includes both wrongful removal and wrongful retention).

Members of the public whose child has been abducted out of Scotland should contact the Central Authority for Scotland for information on what action to take. If the member of the public believes their child is at risk of abduction in future from any part of the UK, they should contact the charity reunite International Child Abduction Centre for advice and information.

If they believe the child is being wrongfully removed from the UK and is on their way out of the country they should go at once to their nearest police station and ask for warning list action. They should also contact reunite International Child Abduction Centre.

For further information refer to:

Contact details for the Central Authority for Scotland


Telephone: 0131 244 0460

Address: Room GW-15

St Andrew's House
Regent Road

3.2 From the end of the transition period

The UK and EU member states will continue to use the 1980 Hague Convention in international child abduction cases between them.



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