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Declarations, treaties, conventions, etc

These are declarations, treaties, etc, that may in some way influence child maintenance / child support in the UK. Typically a "declaration" is not intended to be legally binding, while "treaties" and "conventions" can be ratified by choice. The normal approach of the UK is to make specific laws to put such treaties and conventions into operation, rather than simply entrench the treaty itself into operation. This preserves the primacy of Parliament.

Date of treaty Text Explanation (including date for UK)
Council of Europe
It was set up after WW2, in effect with the aim of ensuring that WW3 didn't start with a war between countries in Europe in the way that WW2 had. The Council of Europe is concerned with promoting human rights (and hence the rule of law), and therefore is opposed to totalitarianism and oppression of citizens. It has a court, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), helping to enforce its major convention, the European Convention of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHRFF). (There are also other conventions).

The Council of Europe has 44 member countries in and around Europe. The United States, Canada, and Mexico, have "observer" status. The key members who joined before 1980 include Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom. Most of the members who joined after 1990 include Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Roumania, Russia, Slovak Republik, Slovenia, Ukraine.

The aims of the Council of Europe are incompatible with Fascist regimes such as those initiating WW2. They are also incompatible with members of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The former countries of the USSR could never have joined the Council of Europe before the collapse of the USSR, and afterwards they had to separately agree to principles of human rights. The Council of Europe, and the ECHRFF, and the ECHR, are anti-totalitarian, anti-communist, anti-fascist, and anti-extreme-socialist. They are pro-citizen-rights.


Complete list of the Council of Europe's treaties

Family law and children's rights - Achievements and documents
Family law and children's rights - Council of Europe conventions
Family law and children's rights - Recommendations adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly
1950-11-04 Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms

Entry into force: 1953-09-03.
For the UK, this is the single most important instrument on this page. It is the basis for the Human Rights Act 1998 (Articles 2-12, 14, 16-18 of the Convention, plus parts of the 1st and 6th Protocols).

1967-04-24 European Convention on the Adoption of Children Entry into force: 1968-04-26
1975-10-15 European Convention on the Legal Status of Children born out of Wedlock Entry into force: 1981-05-25
1979 Recommendation 869 (1979) on payment by the State of advances on child maintenance The UK still doesn't operate an "advanced maintenance" scheme.
1979 Recommendation 874 (1979) on a European Charter on the rights of the child Presumably superceded by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights "Convention on the Rights of the Child"?
1980-05-20 European Convention on Recognition and Enforcement of Decisions concerning Custody of Children and on Restoration of Custody of Children Entry into force: 1986-08-01
1982 Recommendation No R(82)2 on payment by the State of advances on child maintenance This appears to be based on Recommendation 869 (1979), and the same comment applies.
1996-01-25 European Convention on the Exercise of Children's Rights Not ratified by the UK.
Draft Convention on contact concerning children and Explanatory Report to the Convention  
European Union
As it happens, all 15 members of the EU are also members of the Council of Europe. I don't know if this is a rule, but it may be, because the ECJ recognises the ECHR. I think that would be a good rule.
1978-12-19 Council Directive on the Progressive Implementation of the Principle of Equal Treatment for Men and Women in Matters of Social Security

In principle, this could remove the anomaly that gives Child Benefit by default to the mother, which in turn enables the mother to claim child support from the father even when they share care equally:
2000 Act - sex discrimination in the child support law

United Nations - Commission on Human Rights


International Human Rights Instruments  
Entry into force:  
1948-12-10 Universal Declaration of Human Rights Not legally binding.
1959-11-20 Declaration of the Rights of the Child Not legally binding. No reference to financial support by parents.
1981-09-03 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women Entry into force: 1986-05-07. No reference to child support.
1990-09-02 Convention on the Rights of the Child Entry into force: 1992-01-15. Requirement for child support.
United Nations
1956-06-20 Convention on the Recovery Abroad of Maintenance Accession by UK: 1975-03-13
The Hague Conference on Private International Law
The Conference's purpose is to work for the progressive unification of the rules of private international law. Its mission is to facilitate both the relationships between private parties across international borders and international legal transactions. In effect, it is establishing a framework to enable litigation to work across borders, so that people can have more confidence in international commerce and society. The Conference does not tell governments how to legislate and operate their domestic law.

The UK's Child Support Agency is completely separate from the UK's law on cross-border maintenance, and hence separate from the Hague Conference. Any case that falls within the jurisdiction of the CSA isn't within the scope of the convention, and any case that is within the scope of the convention isn't within the jurisdiction of the CSA.

  The Hague Conventions on Private International Law


1956-10-24 Hague Convention #8 on the law applicable to maintenance obligations towards children Not ratified by the UK.
1958-04-15 Hague Convention #9 concerning the recognition and enforcement of decisions relating to maintenance obligations towards children Not ratified by the UK.
1973-10-02 Hague Convention #23 on the Recognition and Enforcement of Decisions Relating to Maintenance Obligations

Entry into force by the UK: 1980-03-01

1973-10-02 Hague Convention #24 on the Law Applicable to Maintenance Obligations Not ratified by the UK.
Hague Conference - work in progress:
  OPERATION OF THE HAGUE CONVENTIONS ON MAINTENANCE OBLIGATIONS AND OF THE NEW YORK CONVENTION OF 20 JUNE 1956 ON THE RECOVERY ABROAD OF MAINTENANCE This is working towards the revision of the United Nations 1956 convention and the above Hague conventions.
Page last updated: 18 December, 2003 © Copyright Barry Pearson 2003