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England: Electronic Tagging to Prevent Re-Abduction of Child

Posted by Jeremy Morley | Apr 14, 2009 | 0 Comments

As a means of preventing international child abduction, the English High Court has issued a consent judgment requiring that a mother be “electronically tagged” before being allowed to visit her child. Re A (A Minor) March 17, 2009.

The mother had wrongfully removed her child from England to her (unnamed) country of origin on two separate occasions. She had returned the child each time but only after the father had brought Hague Convention proceedings. The child was currently in the care of the father.

The issue before the court was whether the child should spend substantial periods of time with the mother under an interim order, pending a full “best interests” evaluation. The father was fearful that unless safeguards were put in place the mother would remove the child again.

The English legislation that adopted the Hague Convention into domestic law authorizes a court, when an application has been made under the Convention, to give “such interim directions as it thinks fit for the purpose of securing the welfare of the child concerned or of preventing changes in the circumstances relevant to the determination of the application.”

The court approved of an arrangement whereby the mother must be electronically tagged before being able to see the child.

The office of the President of the Family Division of the High Court has devised a procedure whereby electronic tagging can be arranged through the “Tagging Team” of the National Office for the Management of Offenders (NOMS).

Electronic tagging works by monitoring the whereabouts of the person wearing a tag, but only in a specific location. The tag is monitored by a device which needs to be installed in particular premises. That device monitors the tag, and the tagging office is notified if the tagged person is either not in the premises during the relevant times or if the tag is removed.

A tagging order is required to contain the following information:

(i) The full name of the person(s) to be tagged.

(ii) The full address of the place of curfew.

(iii) The date and time at which the tagged person agrees to be at home (and any other relevant places) for the installation of the monitoring device.

(iv) A schedule of the times at which the court expects the person to be at home (or any other relevant places) so that the service can monitor compliance.

(v) The start date of the curfew and, if known, the end date of the curfew, the days on which the curfew operates and the curfew hours each day.

(vi) The name and contact details of the relevant officer to whom the service should report to if there is any breach of the above schedule or if the person appears to have removed the tag.

About the Author

Jeremy Morley

Jeremy D. Morley was admitted to the New York Bar in 1975 and concentrates on international family law. His firm works with clients around the world from its New York office, with a global network of local counsel. Mr. Morley is the author of "International Family Law Practice,...

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