International texts

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction - 25 October 1980

The aim of this convention is to set up cooperation between the central authorities of each signatory state to ensure the return of children illegally removed from their normal place of residence. It applies to children under the age of 16.

This should not be confused with the attribution of custody. The point of this Convention is to put an end to the abduction of children, not to determine parental rights over the child..
There are however exceptions to repatriations (see article 13) This is the Convention most used.

Read the text of the Hague convention

Brussels II A Regulation - 27 November 2003

This Regulation concerns the jurisdiction, recognition and enforcement of judgments in matrimonial matters and matters of parental responsibility in the European Union (except Denmark).

Apart from exceptions, jurisdiction remains with the child’s normal country of residence. As regards recognition and enforcement of judgments, exequatur no longer applies if the plaintiff presents a certificate.

The 5 main new rules are :

  1. The courts of the Member State of habitual residence retain jurisdiction in cases of child abduction.
  2. The courts of the other Member State must ensure the rapid return of the child
  3. If the court of the other Member State decides not to order the return of the child, it must send a copy of its decision to the competent court in the Member State of habitual residence. The two courts are to cooperate.
  4. If the court of the Member State of habitual residence orders the return of the child, the judgement takes immediate effect in the other Member State.
  5. The central authorities of the Member State of habitual residence and the other Member State are required to cooperate and provide assistance to courts in carrying out their duties.

The Brussels II A Regulation came into effect on 1 March 2005.

In 2005 the European Communities produced a practical guide to how the new Brussels II regulation operates.

Les conventions spécifiques entre la France et certains pays

Dans certains cas, la France a conclu des accords spécifiques relatifs à l’entraide judiciaire en matière de droit de garde des enfants, de droit de visite et d’obligations alimentaires qui peuvent parfois faciliter le retour des enfants. Pour certaines de ces conventions, il faut souligner que seul un retour à l’amiable peut être envisagé. Ainsi il existe des conventions spécifiques pour les pays suivants :

  • Algérie (Convention franco-algérienne du 21 juin 1988)
  • Bénin (Convention du 27 février 1975)
  • Congo (convention du 1ier janvier 1974)
  • Djibouti (Convention du 27 septembre 1986)
  • Egypte (convention du 15 mars 1982)
  • Liban (convention du 12 juillet 1999)
  • Maroc (convention du 10 Août 1981)
  • Niger (Convention du 19 février 1977)
  • Sénégal (Convention du 29 mars 1974)
  • Tchad (Convention du 6 mars 1976)
  • Togo (Convention du 23 mars 1976)
  • Tunisie (Convention du 18 mars 1982)


La Convention sur les relations personnelles concernant les enfants - 15 mai 2003

Retrouver le traité sur le site du Conseil de l'Europe