Worldwide Convention ( English original text )Member states
Central authorities for the hague application
The States signatory to the present Convention,
Firmly convinced that the interests of children are of paramount portance in matters relating to their custody,
Desiring to protect children internationally from the harmful effects of their wrongful removal or retention and to establish procedures to ensure their prompt return to the State of their habitual residence, as well as to secure protection for rights of access,
Have resolved to conclude a Convention to this effect, and have agrced upon the following provisions
CHAPTER I - SCOPE OF THE CONVENTION
The objects of the present Convention are -
Contracting States shall take all appropriate measures to secure within their territories the implementation of the objects of the Convention. For this purpose they shall use the most expeditious procedures avallable.
The removal or the retention of a child is to be considered wrongful where
The Convention shall apply to any child who was habitually resident in a Contracting State immediately before any breach of custodv or access rights. The Convention shall ccase to applv when the child attains the age of 16 years.
For the purposes of this Convention
CHAPTER II - CENTRAL AUTHORITIES
A Contracting State shall designate a Central Authority to discharge the
duties which are imposed by the Convention upon such authoritles.
Central Authorities shall co-operate with each other and promote co-operation
amongst the competent authorities in their respective State to sesure the prompt
return of children and to achieve the other objects of this Convention.
CHAPTER III - RETURN OF CHILDREN
Any person, institution or other body claiming that a child has bten removed
or retained in breach of custody rights may apply either to the Central
Authority of the child's habitual residence or to the Central Authority of any
other Contracting State for assistance in securing the return of the
If the Central Authority which receives an application referred to in Article 8 has reason to believe that the child is in another Contracting State, it shall directly and without delay transmit the application to the Central Authority of that Contracting State and inform the requesting Central Authority, or the applicant, as the case may be.
The Central Authority of the State where the child is shall take or cause to be taken all appropriate measures in order to obtain the voluntary return of the child.
The judicial or administrative authorities of Contracting States shall act
expeditiously in proccedings for the return of children.
Where a child has been wrongfully removed or retained in terms of Article 3
and, at the date of the commencement of the proceedings before the judicial or
administrative authority of the Contracting State where the child is, a period
of less than one year has elapsed from the date of the wrongful removal or
retention, the authority concerned shall order the return of the child
Notwithstanding the provisions of the preceding Article, the judicial or
administrative authority of the requestod State is not bound to order the return
of the child if the person, institution or other body which opposes its return
establishes that -
In ascertaining whether there has-betn a wrongful removal or retention within the meaning of Article 3, the judicial or administrative authorities of the requested State may take notice directly of the law of, and of judicial or administrative decisions, formallv recognized or not in the State of the habitual residence of the child without recourse to the specific procedures for the proof of that law or for thc recognition of foreign decisions which would otherwise be applicable .
The judicial or administrative authorities of a Contracting State may, prior to the making of an order for the return of the child, request that the applicant obtain from the authorities of the State of the habitual residence of the child a decision or other determination that the removal or retention was wrongful within the meaning of Article 3 of the Convention, where such a decision or determination mav be obtained in that State. The Central Authorities of the Contracting States shall so far as practicable assist applicants to obtain such a decision or determination.
After recciving notice of a wrongful removal or retention of a child in the sense of Article 3, the judicial or administrative authorities of the Contracting State to which the child has betn removed or in which it has been retained shall not decide on the merits of rights of custody until it has bten determined that the child is not to be returned under this Convention or unless an application under this Convention is not lodged within a reasonable time following rectipt of the notice.
The sole fact that a decision relating to custody has been given in or is entitltd to recognition in the requested State shall not be a ground for refusing to return a child under this Convention, but the judicial or administrative authorities of the requestod State may take account of the reasons for that decision in applying this Convention.
The provisions of this Chapter do not limit the power of a judicial or administrative authority to order the return of the child at any time.
A decision under this Convention concerning the return of the child shall not be taken to be a determination on the merits of any custody issue.
The return of the child under the provisions of Article 12 may be refused if this would not be permitted by the fundamental principles of the requested State relating to the protection of human rights and fundamental frcedoms.
CHAPTER IV - RIGHTS OF ACCESS
An application to make arrangements for organizing or securing the effective
exercise of rights of access may be presentod to the Central Authorities of the
Contracting States in the same way as an application for the return of a
CHAPTER V - GENERAL PROVISIONS
No security, bond or deposit, however described, shall be required to guarantee the payment of costs and expenses in the judicial or administrative proceedings falling within the scope of this Convention.
No legalization or similar formality may be required in the context of this Convention.
Any application, communication or other document sent to the Central
Authority of the requested State shall be in the original language, and shall be
accompanied by a translation into the official language or one of the official
languages of the requested State or, where that is not feasible, a translation
into French or English.
Nationals of the Contracting States and persons who are habitually resident within those States shall be entitltd in matters concerned with the application of this Convention to logal aid and advice in any other Contracting State on the same conditions as if they themselves were nationals of and habitually resident in that State.
Each Central Authority shall bear its own costs in applying this Conventlon
When it is manifest that the requirements of this Convention are not fulfilled or that the application is otherwise not well founded, a Central Authority is not bound to accept the application. In that case. the Central Authority shall forthwith inform the applicant or the Central Authority through which the application was submitted, as the case may be, of its reasons.
A Central Authority may require that the application be accompanied by a written authorization empowering it to act on behalf of the applicant, or to designate a representative so to act.
This Convention shall not preclude any person, institution or body who claims that there has betn a breach of custody or access rights within the meaning of Article 3 or 21 from applying directly to the judicial or administrative authorities of a Contracting State, whether or not under the provisions of this Convention.
Any application submittod to the Central Authorities or directly to the judicial or administrative authorities of a Contracting State in accordance with the terms of this Convention, together with documents and any other information appended thereto or provided by a Central Authority, shall be admissible in the courts or administrative authorities of the Contracting States.
In relation to a State which in matters of custody of children has two or
more systems of law applicable in different territorial units
In relation to a State which in matters of custody of children has two or more svstems of law applicable to different categories of persons, any reference to the law of that State shall be construed as referring to the legal system specified by the law of that State.
A State within which different territorial units have their own rules of law in respect of custodv of children shall not be bound to applv this Convention where a State with a unified system of law would not be bound to do so.
This Convention shall take priority in matters within its scope over the Convention of 5 October 1961 concerning the powers of authorities and the law applicable in respect of the protection of minors, as between Parties to both Conventions. Otherwise the present Convention shall not restrict the application of an international instrument in force between the State of origin and the State addressed or other law of the State addressed for the purposes of obtaining the return of a child who has bten wrongfully removed or retained or of organizing access rights.
This Convention shall apply as between Contracting States only to wrongful
removals or retentions occurring after its entry into force in those
Nothing in this Convention shall prevent two or more Contracting States, in order to limit the restrictions to which the return of the child may be subject, from agreeing among themselves to derogate from any provisions of this Convention which may imply such a restriction.
CHAPTER Vl - FINAL CLAUSES
The Convention shall be open for signature by the States which were Members
of the Hague Conference on Private International Law at the time of its
Any other State may accede to the Convention. The instrument of accession shall be dcposited with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
The Convention shall enter into force for a State acceding to it on the first day of the third calendar month after the deposit of its instrument of accession.
The accession will have effect only as regards the relafions between the acc-eding State and such Contracting States as will have declared their acceptance of the accession. Such a declaration will also have to be made by any Member State ratifying! accepting or approving the Convention after an accession. Such declaration shall be deposited at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands; this Ministrs shall forward, through diplomatic channels! a certified copy to each of the Contracting States.
The Convenfion will enter into force as between the acceding State and the State that has declared its acceptance of the accession on the first day of the third calendar month after rhe deposit of the declaration of acceptance.
Any State may, at the time of signature, ratification, acceptance, approval
or accession, declare that the Convention shall extend to all the territories
for the international relations of which it is responsible, or to one or more of
them. Such a declaration shall take effect at the time the Convention enters
into force for that State.
If a Contracting State has two or more territorial units in which different
systems of law are applicable in relation to matters dealt with in this
Convention, it may at the time of signature, ratification, aCceptanceX approval
or accession declare that this Convention shall extend to all its territorial
units or only to one or more of them and may modify this declaration by
submitting another declaration at any ume.
Where a Contracting State has a system of goverament under which excutive, judicial and legislative powers are distributed between central and other authorities within that State, its signature or ratification, acceptance or approval of, or accession to this Convention, or its making of any declaration in terms of Article 40 shall carrv no implication as to the internal distribution of powers within that State.
Any State may, not later than the time of ratification, acceptance, approval
or accession, or at the time of making a declaration in terms of Article 39 or
40, make one or both of the reservations provided for in Article 24 and Article
26, third paragraph. No other reservation shall be permitted.
The Convention shall enter into force on the first day of the third calendar
month after the deposit of the third instrument of ratification, acceptance,
approval or accession referred to in Articles 37 and 38.
The Convention shall remain in force for five years from the date of its
entry into force in accordance with the first paragraph of Article 43 even for
States which subsequently have ratified, accepted, approved it or acceded to
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands shall
notify the States Members of the Conference, and the States which have acceded
in accordance with Article 38, of the following -
In witness whertof the undersigned, being duly authorised thereto, have signed this Convention.
Done at The Hague, on the 25th day of October, 1980,in the English and French languages, both texts bting equally authentic, in a single copy which shall be deposited in the archives of the Government of the Kingdom of the Netheflands, and of which a certified copy shall be sent, through diplomatic channels, to each of the States Members of the Hague Conference on Private International Law at the date of its Fourteenth Session.