Clause 82 - Restriction on taking children out

Part of Adoption and Children Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 10:45 am ar 11 Rhagfyr 2001.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Robert Walter Robert Walter Ceidwadwyr, North Dorset 10:45, 11 Rhagfyr 2001

I thank my hon. Friend for his intervention. There is an attempt elsewhere in the Bill to suggest that when reference is made to the United Kingdom, that includes the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. However, in other places the term ''the British Islands'' is used. From the way in which it is expressed in the Bill and on the basis that we cannot make law for another sovereign state—the Republic of Ireland—I assume that phrase to mean, the United Kingdom and the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.

I am concerned that we have picked on another group of sovereign states and sought to include their citizens in the Bill's ambit. There does not seem to be any reason for picking states that are members of the Commonwealth, other than our historical associations with such states. We have more contemporary associations with children who are citizens of European Union member states or of the Irish Republic, but they will not be covered by the clause.

My argument in favour of removing subsection (1)(a) is expressed most forcefully by reference to the clause's inconsistency. Not only is there inconsistency between the geographical definitions that appear in the Bill, but article 14 of the Hague convention seems to preclude us from including such a provision based on the criterion that a child is a Commonwealth citizen. Of course we can impose the restriction contained in clause 82 in respect of a child who is habitually resident in the UK, but we are treading on dangerous ground in international law if we try to contravene article 14 of the Hague convention and widen our jurisdiction to children who happen to be Commonwealth citizens and happen to be in the UK or are under the jurisdiction of a British court at the time.