The Principality of Monaco protects children from the harmful effects of abduction and retention across international borders by having ratified the Hague Convention of 25 October 1980 which aims to guarantee custody or visiting rights.
Understanding the process
The Application of the Hague Convention
The Hague Convention of 25th October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is a multilateral treaty that seeks to protect children from the harmful effects of abduction and their retention across international borders by providing a procedure to permit their rapid return.
This Convention associates Monaco with the countries mentioned on the Hague Convention's web site. It applies to all children, whatever their nationality, who were habitually resident in one of the contracting countries immediately before the custodial or visiting rights of one of the parents were violated.
The Convention ceases to apply when a child reaches the age of 16.
For the purposes of the application of the Convention, each State party to the Convention designates a central authority. In Monaco, this is the Department of Justice:
Direction des Services Judiciaires
Palais de Justice, 5 rue Colonel Bellando de Castro, MC 98000 Monaco
Phone : (+377) 98 98 88 11
Fax : (+377) 93 50 85 89
The contact persons are Mr. Bruno Nardi, M. Maxime MAILLET ou M. Pierre-Erige CIAUDO.
The central authority in Monaco, the requesting authority, plays an important role in the way the procedure is applied. It is responsible for all the stages aimed at resolving the situation, by:
- Obtaining information on procedures in the country to which the request is being made
- Checking that the request is complete and in a manner that is acceptable to that country
- Checking that the request meets the conditions stipulated by the Convention
- Explaining to the applicant how the Convention works
- Providing information on the relevant legislation in the country to which the request is being made
- Ensuring that all the necessary supporting documents for the request are provided
- Translating the request and any necessary documents
- Ensuring that the request is sent to the correct address
- Sending the request by first-class post, Fax or e-mail
- Following up on the progress of the request
- Cooperating with the central authority of the country to which the request is being made to facilitate the safe return of the child
- Confirming the child's return to the central authority of the country to which the request is being made
- Ensuring that the protective measures agreed to are in place after the child's return
- Taking all necessary steps to ensure that the conditions and commitments relating to the decision to return the child will be respected
In practice, when a child is abducted from a parent who has custody of the child in Monaco, and is taken to another signatory country, that parent must notify the Department of Justice immediately by any available means. When the geographical location of the abducted child is known, the parent is also recommended to notify the central authority of the country in which the child in located as quickly as possible. The contact details of the central authorities are listed on the Hague Convention's web site.
Countries that are not Party to the Hague Convention
If a country to which the child has been removed has not signed an agreement with Monaco concerning the illegal removal and retention of a child, it is still possible to resolve the situation. A legal ruling cannot be enforced in a foreign country unless it has first been authorised by the legal system of the country in question. If there is no relevant convention between the two countries concerned, the applicant must follow a procedure in the foreign country that is known as an "exequatur" procedure. As soon as the Monegasque ruling is endorsed by the exequatur, it becomes enforceable throughout the territory of that country.
When a ruling that is not enforceable abroad has been made to a parent in Monaco, that parent is recommended to contact a lawyer in the foreign country to initiate and follow a local exequatur procedure or its equivalent and to request enforcement of the ruling if necessary.
If you are seeking for your child to return to Monaco :
You should send the completed form to the Department of Justice, who will take the next steps as necessary. After verification, the file is transmitted to the central authority of the country in which you think the child is.
If you are seeking to obtain or protect the right to visit abroad:
You should send the completed application to the Department of Justice, who will take the next steps as necessary.