Hague Abduction Convention Law and Legal Definition

The Hague Abduction Convention or the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is a multilateral treaty developed pursuant to the Hague Conference on Private International Law. The convention ensures prompt return of a child internationally abducted from one member nation to another. This convention came into force in 1983. As of January 2011, 82 States are party to the convention. It is the primary civil law mechanism for parents seeking the return of the children from other treaty partner countries.

Member nations of the convention have agreed that a child who was living in one convention country, and who has been removed to or retained in another convention country in violation of the left-behind parent's custodial rights, shall be promptly returned. After the child is returned, the custody dispute, if needed, is resolved in the courts of that jurisdiction. However, the convention does not address who should have custody of the child. It only focuses on the place where the custody case should be heard.

The Convention does not provide any substantive rights. Pursuant to the convention, the return of the child is to the member nation rather than specifically to the left-behind parent.