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conventionThe Hague Convention, formally known as the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, is an international treaty designed to protect children and resolve cross-border custody disputes. The convention aims to establish procedures for the prompt return of children who have been wrongfully removed or retained in a country other than their habitual residence. It also seeks to ensure that custody and visitation rights are respected and enforced across different jurisdictions. We will explore the concept of the Hague Convention, provide a list of Hague Convention countries, and delve into its relevance of the Hague Convention to family law matters in Australia.


The Hague Convention is an international treaty developed by the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) in 1980. It currently has 101 member countries, including many nations across the globe. The primary objective of the convention is to protect children from the harmful effects of international parental child abduction by facilitating their prompt return to their country of habitual residence and ensuring the rights of access and custody are respected.


Under the Hague Convention, “wrongful removal” refers to a situation where a child is taken across an international border without the consent of the other parent or in violation of custody rights. “Wrongful retention” occurs when a child is unlawfully kept in a foreign country, exceeding the permitted time frame of a visitation or travel arrangement. The convention aims to resolve such cases by establishing a framework for cooperation between member countries.


Usually for an order to be sought for a return of a child, you should speak to family law specialists.

Hague Convention Countries

As of September 2021, the following countries are parties to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction:


  • Albania
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Brazil
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • China (Hong Kong and Macau)
  • Colombia
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Ecuador
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • India
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Mexico
  • Monaco
  • Montenegro
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Peru
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • Serbia
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • South Africa
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Uruguay
  • Venezuela

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Relevance of the Hague Convention to Family Law in Australia

The Hague Convention holds great relevance to family law matters in Australia. As an internationally connected country, Australia recognises the importance of cooperation between nations in resolving cross-border custody disputes. The convention provides a legal framework that assists Australian parents and families in situations where a child has been wrongfully removed from or retained in another Hague Convention country.


Australia’s participation in the Hague Convention ensures that if a child is taken from Australia to another convention country without proper consent or in violation of custody rights, there are established mechanisms in place for their safe return. Likewise, if a child is brought to Australia from another convention country, the convention facilitates the resolution of custody disputes in a manner that prioritises the best interests of the child.


By adhering to the Hague Convention principles, Australian family law courts can take immediate action to ensure the prompt return of wrongfully abducted or retained children. The convention fosters international cooperation, streamlines legal processes, and helps protect the rights and well.


If you have a matter where your child has been taken to another country without your consent, contact a top family lawyer from Lyons Law Group for immediate legal advice for your child’s recovery. It is highly recommended that you speak to us for the return of a child.


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