To/from a Contracting State - the Council of Europe Convention

In connection with countries that have signed the Council of Europe Convention on child abduction, assistance from the Norwegian authorities is provided through the Ministry of Justice and Public Security.

In connection with countries that have signed the Council of Europe Convention on child abduction, assistance from the Norwegian authorities is provided through the Ministry of Justice and Public Security.

Child abduction is a criminal offence under Norwegian law, cf. Section 216 of Norway's General Civil Penal Code. Read more about this under Child abduction is a criminal offence.

Norway and a number of other countries have endorsed this convention, which has rules regarding the mutual recognition and enforcement of child custody decisions made in other Contracting States. The intention of the Council of Europe Convention is to ensure that decisions regarding, among other things, parental responsibility, which have been made in one Contracting State are recognised and enforced in the other Contracting States. This may result in the repatriation of abducted children to their original country of habitual residence.

The process step by step to a Contracting State

If you child is abducted to another Contracting State the Ministry of Justice and Public Security can help you to apply for recognition and enforcement in that country of a Norwegian decision on parental responsibility.

Your application will be sent by the Ministry of Justice and Public Security to the central authorities in the country to which your child has been abducted.

If you do not know where in the other country your child is staying, the Ministry of Justice and Public Safety will ask the authorities in that country to help find the child.

It may be expeditious to file a missing-child report with the police in Norway, irrespective of whether you know where the child is or not. The police in Norway will then be able to intervene in the case if necessary at a later date.

The other country's central authorities will forward the application to the local court, which will determine the matter of recognition and enforcement. A Norwegian decision on parental responsibility will normally be accepted by other Contracting States after consideration by a local court, and will have the same legal effect in the country concerned as a decision made in Norway. It must be emphasised that recognition and enforcement imply direct adjudication by the court in the other country of the underlying issue of who shall have parental responsibility for the child.

The application

When applying for recognition and enforcement you must complete the Ministry of Justice and Public Security's application form and sign a statement of authorisation. The original form and the statement of authorisation, signed and dated, must be forwarded to the Ministry of Justice and Public Security.

Application form and Statement of authorisation

The following documents should be enclosed with the application:

  • an account of the actual circumstances of the abduction
  • the Norwegian decision on parental responsibility, eg court ruling, decision by the County Social Welfare Board
  • documentation that the decision is enforceable in Norway
  • documentation of the child's habitual residence, eg printout of the school register, National Population Register, etc
  • photographs of the child and the abductor
  • passport copies


The Ministry of Justice and Public Security will have the necessary documents translated.

The process step by step from a Contracting State

If your child has been abducted from another Contracting State to Norway, the central authorities in the child's country of habitual residence may assist in applying for recognition and enforcement in Norway of a decision on parental responsibility made abroad.

The application will be sent from the central authorities in the child's country of habitual residence to Norway's Ministry of Justice and Public Security.

If you do not know where in Norway your child is staying, the Ministry of Justice and Public Security will ask the police to help find the child.

It may be expeditious to file a missing-child report with the police in the child's country of habitual residence, irrespective of whether you know where in Norway the child is or not. The police in Norway will then be able to intervene in the case if necessary at a later date.

The Ministry of Justice and Public Security will forward the petition to the district court where the child is staying, and the court will determine the issue of recognition and enforcement. After consideration by a Norwegian court, a decision regarding parental authority that has been made in another country will normally be accepted here. It must be emphasised that recognition and enforcement imply direct adjudication of the underlying issue of who has parental responsibility for the child.



Further information on the convention can be found on the Council of Europe's website.

 

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