The Office of the Head of International Family Justice for England and Wales (the Office) has published its Annual Report for 2012.
The Office provides expertise and advice in the field of international family law for the judiciary and practitioners in this jurisdiction and overseas.
It supports and facilitates cross-border judicial collaboration and direct judicial communication and enhances the expertise necessary for handling the large numbers of cases relating to aspects of private international law.
According to the report, 2012 was a busy year. The Office played a role in Part II of the Hague Conference on Private International Law’s Sixth Special Commission into the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention. 2012 also saw the entry into force in the UK of the 1996 Hague Child Protection Convention. In addition, the Office was involved in a number of key conferences that took place on international family law.
In 2011 there was a 96% increase in the number of requests for assistance to the Office. In 2012 there was a further 40.5% increase.
The number of jurisdictions dealt with by the Office has also increased and now numbers 71, a 40% increase over the number in 2011.
According to the report, the continued rise in requests to the Office for assistance is largely attributable to two factors:
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