Child abduction/affidavits of laws
The Civil Legal Aid Act 1995 requires us to grant a legal aid certificate to the applicant in child abduction cases. The extent of the service to be provided is, however, a matter for us having regard to the terms of the Act and the Regulations.
Accordingly, when applying for an amendment to a certificate to incur the expenditure involved in obtaining an affidavit of laws, state the issue(s) on which the affidavit is to be sought. Provide the relevant facts that are to be considered by the foreign lawyer.
A central issue on which affidavits of laws are sought is whether or not the non abducting parent has rights of custody/access to the child that will be recognised by the courts in the jurisdiction from which the child has been abducted. Given that the purpose of the conventions and legislation is to secure the return of children to the country from which they have been abducted, we consider that the court should have available to it the best and the clearest information on the law of the State from which the child has been abducted. In that context, we consider that it is appropriate that it should grant only one affidavit of laws on the issue in relation to whether or not a non abducting parent has rights of custody/access.
Where both parties are legally aided, we consider that both parties should agree on the issue on which an affidavit of laws is sought. In that context, we are likely to grant authority for the engaging of an expert witness for the purpose of drafting an affidavit to be available to the court.