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International Child Abduction - The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction ("the Convention"), Child Abduction and Custody Ordinance (Cap. 512) ("CACO")
 

Frequently asked questions

 

Q1: How would I know whether the Convention applies as between Hong Kong and the State or territory that I am dealing with?
A1: Check whether the State or territory in question is listed in the Schedule to the Child Abduction and Custody (Parties to Convention) Order (Cap. 512 sub. leg.) and the relevant date of coming into force. If it is not listed, you can also contact us to check whether there may be any time-lag in updating the Schedule in the legislation database.

 

Q2: Do I have to pay any legal costs on seeking assistance from the Central Authority of Hong Kong?
A2: Yes, you have to pay legal costs unless legal aid assistance is granted. Click here for more information. However, the Central Authority of Hong Kong does not charge for any administrative costs in liaising with other authorities or in assisting with the completion of a request form.

 

Q3: Does the Convention apply if my proposed application for the return of a child or for the exercise of rights of access is as between Hong Kong and the mainland of the People's Republic of China?
A3: The Convention has no application to cases concerning different regions of the same State, and therefore the provisions of the Convention do not apply as between Hong Kong and the mainland of the People's Republic of China.

 

Q4: Does the Convention apply if my proposed application for the return of a child or for the exercise of rights of access is as between Hong Kong and Macao?
A4: The Convention came into force as between Hong Kong and Macao on 1 March 1999. Since the Convention has no application to cases concerning different regions of the same State, the provisions of the Convention ceased to apply as between Hong Kong and Macao on 20 December 1999 on the resumption of the exercise of sovereignty over Macao by the People's Republic of China.

 

Q5: What should I do if my proposed application for the return of a child or for the exercise of rights of access is as between Hong Kong and a non-Contracting State or territory?
A5: The CACO and the Convention do not apply under such circumstances. You should as soon as possible seek legal advice from your local lawyer or lawyers in the jurisdiction where the child is unless an amicable agreement for voluntary return or for access can be reached.

 

Q6: Will the Central Authority of Hong Kong assist me in the application for or variation of a custody order in respect of a child?
A6: No, the Central Authority of Hong Kong will only provide assistance in -
(a) the return of a child to the place of his/her habitual residence as described here; or
   
(b) international exercise of access rights as described here.

You should seek legal advice from your own lawyer regarding any custody matters.

 

Q7: Will the Central Authority of Hong Kong assist me in my divorce proceedings?
A7: No, the Central Authority of Hong Kong does not advise on divorce matters. You should seek legal advice from your own lawyer.

 

Q8: How long will it take to process an application for the return of a child under the Convention?
A8: It varies depending on the legal system of the relevant Contracting State or territory, and may take longer if the person who removed or retained the child opposes the application or if the child cannot be located.

 

Q9: Does an applicant for the return of a child need to travel to the place where the child is to attend the judicial or administrative proceedings concerned?
A9: The Hong Kong court may make a decision concerning the return of a child under the Convention without the applicant travelling to Hong Kong provided that the applicant is legally represented. On the other hand, the court may also order the personal attendance of the applicant in the proceedings as necessary. As for other Contracting States and territories, the relevant Central Authority will advise you upon request.

 

Q10: Why is it that the list of Contracting States and territories in the Schedule to the Child Abduction and Custody (Parties to Convention) Order (Cap. 512 sub. leg.) is not exactly the same as the list in the status table by the Convention under the Child Abduction Home Page of the Hague Conference on Private International Law ?
A10: It is because Article 38 of the Convention stipulated, inter alia, that "the accession will have effect only as regards the relations between the acceding State and such Contracting States as will have declared their acceptance of the accession". Therefore, there may be some discrepancies between the list in the Schedule and the Status table in relation to States which acceded to the Convention.

 

Back to topGo to Department of Justice HomepageLast review date: 14 Feb 2018