Law Commission Proposals to change Child Abduction law

Recommendations have recently been made in a report by the Law Commission to change the law surrounding the abduction of children.

At present, if a parent takes a child out of the UK with the permission of their other parent, but then does not return the child (or keeps the child for longer than was agreed) then this is not currently classed as child abduction under section 1 of the Child Abduction Act 1984.  The Law Commission’s report recommends that this be addressed by extending the remit of the child abduction offence so as to criminalise the wrongful retention of a child in these circumstances.

Further recommendations are made within the report to:

  • Increase the maximum prison sentence for an offence of child abduction from 7 years to 14 years.
  • To replace the common law offence of false imprisonment with a statutory offence of unlawful detention.
  • To make the common law offence of kidnapping a statutory offence and for the definition of it to have more certainty.

The proposed changes, if adopted, could have a significant impact on parents if they keep their children abroad without the requisite consent of the other parent.

If you require legal advice in relation to any family matter, including child abduction issues, please contact our specialist family solicitors on 0800 037 4628.

This entry was posted in Family Law.