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The Protection of Children (Hague Convention) Act 2000 was commenced by the Minister for Justice and Law Reform, Dermot Ahern.

The 2000 Act gives force of law to the 1996 Hague Convention on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Co-operation in Respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children. It was stated that the ratification of the 1996 Convention and the commencement of its implementing legislation was delayed due to issues concerning EU competence and authorisation.

The Convention is designed to resolve conflict of jurisdiction and law issues and to establish co-operation between the authorities of the states who have ratified the Convention. Information exchange and collaboration between administrative (child protection) authorities is facilitated. In Ireland, a Central Authority for the International Protection of Children in the Department of Justice and Law Reform will perform the functions arising from the Convention.

The areas of co-operation that are provided include:

  • assistance in locating a child who may be in need of protection;
  • providing a social report on the situation of the child;
  • facilitating agreed solutions for the protection of the child or the property of the child.

Other areas covered by the Convention include:

  • the attribution, exercise, termination or restriction of parental responsibility as well as its delegation;
  • rights of custody, access and guardianship;
  • the placement of a child with a foster family or in institutional care.