Are Children Heard in Hague Proceedings?

There is no prescribed procedure. Children are generally heard, if appropriate, through an interlocutor normally the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service [CAFCASS] established in 2001, the website address for which is The CAFCASS reporter meets with the child and reports back to the court on the childs wishes and feelings either orally or in writing depending upon the time available.

The weight given to the childs views will depend upon the childs age and understanding and whether or not his/her views have been genuinely arrived at. If the court finds that the childs objections have been influenced by the views of the defendant parent who may be vehemently opposed to any return, little or no weight will be attached to his/her expressed views.

Although the child may be joined as a party to the proceedings at the discretion of the court and be separately represented, it is only in exceptional circumstances where the facts disclose that it would be inappropriate for the child to be heard through a CAFCASS reporter that the court will consider joining the child as a party and ordering separate representation - Re J (Abduction: Childs Objection to Return) [2004] 2 FLR 64.

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