Hague Convention of 1996

The Hague Convention of 19 October 1996 on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Co-operation in respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children.

The convention of 1996 aims to ensure that children with a connection to several countries are as effectively protected as children with a connection to only one country. The convention shall complement existing national and international rules on the protection of children.

Child abduction

The convention applies, inter alia, in cases of child abduction and expands international cooperation regarding the protection of children as established by the Hague Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Convention of 1980) and the European Convention of 20 May 1980 on Recognition and Enforcement of Decisions concerning Custody of Children and on Restoration of Custody of Children (European Convention of 1980).

The convention defines a child abduction – or retention of a child – as illegal if it contravenes with the rights of the custodial parent, provided, that the rights of parental custody were actually exercised when the abduction occurred or would have been so if abduction has not occurred. 

Decisions on custody

Similarly to the 1980 Hague Convention, the 1996 Hague Convention on Child Protection ensures that the state to which the child has been abducted to refrains from making decision on custody of the child. Such decisions shall be made in the state the child is abducted from. In the case of child abduction, the child is considered to remain its legal residence in the country where the child lived before the abduction. Only the authorities of this country can make decision on custody and other decisions concerning the child.

The convention also contains provisions regarding recognition and enforcement of decisions - including interim decisions - concerning custody and the child's habitual residence.

A request for the return of an abducted child may be based on a decision on parental responsibility that either gives parents joint custody or provide the parent with whom the child has been abducted from sole custody of the child. The request may also be based on a decision that determines the child’s habitual residence with the parent whom the child has been abducted from.


The convention applies to a child from the time of its birth until the age of 18. The convention has significance only in relation to states which have acceded to the convention and with which Denmark cooperates under the convention.

Denmark is continuously working on expanding the group of countries with which Denmark cooperates under the convention. At the list to the right, you can see which countries Denmark cooperates with under the convention.

Cooperating countries

  • Albania
  • Armenia
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Barbados
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Cape Verde
  • Costa Rica
  • Croatia
  • Cuba
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Georgia
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Guyana
  • Honduras
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lesotho
  • Lithuania
  • Luxemburg
  • Malta
  • Morocco
  • Monaco
  • Montenegro
  • Netherlands
  • Nicaragua
  • Norway
  • Paraguay
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • Serbia
  • Switzerland
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Turkey
  • UK
  • Ukraine
  • Uruguay