The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction: Why Mandatory Mediation is Necessary
Author Sandra Ferreira
Affiliations: BLC LLB LLD. Associate Professor, Department of Private Law, University of South Africa.
Source: Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa, The, Volume 51 Issue 1, p. 22 – 41
The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction was developed to protect children internationally from the harmful effects of their wrongful removal or retention. Its primary objective is to secure the prompt return of children wrongfully removed to, or retained in, any contracting state. Where a parent does not voluntarily agree to the return of the child, litigation usually follows. In South Africa, with its overburdened court rolls, litigation is often drawn-out, and often takes a very long time to finalise. If the swift return of an abducted child is not achieved, it may lead to a situation where the protection envisaged by the Hague Convention is compromised. Mediation, which is already part of the legal framework for family disputes in South Africa, has become increasingly popular in Hague Convention disputes. The aim of this article is to consider mediation, not only as an alternative to litigation in Hague Convention matters in South Africa but as a mandatory requirement.