International Сhild Abduction: the Russian Approach

Russia is a party to the  Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction 1980 (hereinafter – the Child Abduction Convention), which  came into force between Russia and about 70 States.  Therefore, the newly introduced chapter 22.2 of the Russian Code of civil procedure provides that “a return application must be submitted to a court by a parent or other person considering that his or her custody or access rights have been violated, or by a prosecutor”. Following the concentration principle  eight courts of first instance  are currently competent to hear abduction/access  cases, and they are:

Procedure

Participation of a prosecutor and the childcare authority in hearing of a case is mandatory. The hearing takes place within forty-two days (Article 244.15 of the Code of Civil Procedure). The judgment may be appealed against within ten days. The appeal is examined within one month  by the appellate court (Article 244.17 of the Code of Civil Procedure).

In practice it is  up to the chairman   of a court to decide whether the judge hearing abduction cases, will be allocated with other cases or not. So the workload of judges differ, the judge of the Tverskoy court of Moscow being the most overloaded.

Meanwhile, according to the “Overview of child return cases under the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention”   drafted by the Russian Supreme Cout in December 2019, in the period from 2016 to 2018, 71 return cases were heard overall: 13 cases in 2016, 26 cases in 2017, and 32 cases in 2018. In 23 cases, the applicants’ claim for return of the child was satisfied; and in 48 cases, the applicants’ claim for return of the child was refused. Not surprisingly, some of the applicants applied to the ECtHR, the list of the cases can be found here.

It is also to be noted that unfortumately, no legal aid is granted for the abduction/access cases. Besides, the Russian Central Authority – Ministry of Education, by contrast to many other countries, is not empowered either to bring abduction/ access cases before  court or to represent legal interests of any of the parties to the proceeding.

Mediation in Abduction Cases

In most cases, however, one  can apply to a Family Mediation Service. The legal framework of mediation is set through  the Federal Act №193-ФЗ  on the 27th of July 2010 “On the alternative procedure of dispute resolution (mediation)”.   Moreover, as a result of amendments to this Act  starting from the 1st of October 2019, a mediation agreement can be validated by notary and as such acquires  the  executive force.  The Federal  Institute of Mediation keeps registers of mediators, working in abduction cases. They speak Russian, English and French.

Ask for a professional assistance if you want to negotiate  abduction cases.

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