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At present, the Hague Child Abduction Convention has 93 Contracting States. States which were not yet Members of the Hague Conference on Private International Law – an intergovernmental organisation – in 1980 when the Convention was adopted by the Fourteenth Session of the Hague Conference, cannot sign and ratify the Convention with binding effect vis-à-vis all other Contracting States; they may “only” accede. Pursuant to Article 38 subsection 3 of the Convention, the accession only has effect between the acceding State and Contracting States having declared their acceptance of such accession. Therefore it may happen that a State appears in the list of Contracting States below, but in the second column instead of a date of entry into force is stated: “not yet in relation to Germany“. This means that Germany has not yet accepted the accession or the acceptance has not yet taken effect. Between Germany and the other State concerned, the Hague Child Abduction Convention does not (yet) apply in such cases.

The European Custody Convention currently links Germany with 36 other Contracting States.

The 1996 Hague Child Protection Convention has 43 Contracting States. In relations between EU Member States (with the exception of Denmark), jurisdiction as well as the recognition and enforcement of decisions relating to parental responsibility will however continue to be governed by the so-called Brussels II a-Regulation. In relations with those Non-EU-States which are Parties to both the European Custody Convention and the 1996 Hague Child Protection Convention, both Conventions apply. It is therefore up to the applicants to choose which Convention to rely on.

The Brussels II a-Regulation is directly applicable in all EU Member States with the exception of Denmark, i.e. currently in 27 States (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and the United Kingdom). In child abduction cases between EU Member States the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention remains the legal basis for return; the Regulation however contains some provisions modifying its application. Concerning recognition and/or declaration of enforceability of a foreign custody or contact order, in relations between EU Member States, the Brussels II a-Regulation prevails over the European Custody Convention. Consequently, for Germany the latter only remains relevant in relation to non-EU Member States (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey and Ukraine).

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