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Encyclopedia > Parental responsibility (access and custody)

In the states of the European Union and elsewhere, parental responsibility refers to the rights and privilieges which underpin the relationship between a child and either its parents or those adults who have a significant role in its life. For the purposes of Public International Law and Private International Law, a state is a defined group of people, living within defined territorial boundaries and subject, more or less, to an autonomous legal system exercising jurisdiction through properly constituted courts. ...


Parental responsibility in EU law

The European Union has set up machinery for the mutual recognition of Family Law judgments through Council Regulation 2201/2003 which continues the harmonisation of the rules on jurisdiction and on the recognition and enforcement of all judgments on parental responsibility. The intention is to ensure that parental responsibility orders can be recognised and enforced through a uniform procedure. The courts in the Member State where the child is habitually resident have the primary jurisdiction to rule on parental responsibility. The courts in the other Member States shall enforce those judgments unless: In international law, harmonisation refers to the process by which different states adopt the same laws. ...

  • this infringes public policy in the given Member State — an extremely unlikely eventuality;
  • the child has not been given the opportunity to be heard except in cases of genuine urgency (in all cases, the fundamental right of every child to be heard and for his or her views to be given due weight in accordance with their age and maturity, is provided in Article 24 Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union which also states that the child's best interest shall be the primary consideration in all cases affecting their interests, whether initiated by public authorities or private institutions);
  • the person claiming that the judgment infringes his or her rights of parental responsibility has not been given an opportunity to be heard, or was not allowed a reasonable time to prepare his or her defence (see natural justice); and
  • the judgment is irreconcilable with a second subsisting judgment (under certain conditions).

Following a proposal from the Commission in May 2002, a regulation on parental responsibility which was adopted on 27 November 2003 and applies from the 1st March 2005: The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union is a document containing human rights provisions, solemnly proclaimed by the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union, and the European Commission in December 2000. ... The doctrine of natural justice is founded in the notion that logical reasoning may allow the determination of just, or fair, processes in legal proceedings. ...

  • ensures the right of the child to maintain contact with both parents even when the parents live in different Member States by allowing automatic recognition and enforcement of judgments on access rights, and
  • seeks to prevent parental child abduction within the Community. The courts of the Member State of the child's residence before abduction always have the jurisdiction. Some parents have abducted children to their own states in the hope of receiving more favourable treatment. The courts of the abducting parent's nationality can only refuse to return the child immediately if this is necessary:
either because there is a grave risk that the child would be in danger if he or she returned, or
if the child has attained a certain age and maturity and does not want to return.
But the court in the state where the child resided before the abduction takes the final decision as to where the child shall stay, and such decisions must be respected in the state of current residence.

Child abduction is the abduction or kidnapping of a young child (or baby) by an older person. ...

Parental responsibility in European states


In English law, parental responsibility is automatically bestowed upon a Resident Parent as well as married non-resident parents. Mothers, whether awarded Residence or not (and small numbers are not awarded Residence by the Family Courts) have an automatic right to Parental Responsibility. The one excluded group is unmarried fathersex cept for those fathers whose name appears on the birth certificate of children who were born after 1st December 2003. English law is the law of England and Wales, rather than Scotland and Northern Ireland. ... In most forms of government, a birth certificate is an official legal document usually describing Name at Birth Date of Birth Sex (Gender) Place of Birth (City, Region, Country) Birth Registration Number Legal Parent(s) Time of Birth (if known) The certificate is issued shortly after a persons birth...

Parents with parental responsibility (or PR) are entitled to be consulted in educational and medical matters concerning their children.

Where a person has PR no-one may: (a) take a child out of the country for more than 30 days without an Order of the Court, or (b) change the surname of the child.


In Scots law, issues relative to parental reponsibilities are dealt with under the Children (Scotland) Act 1995, which provides for the making of 'residence' (custody) and 'contact' (access) orders. These may be applied for by anyone with an interest in a child, not merely parents ( reference). The test in all cases is, under the statute, the best interest of the child. Scots law (or Scottish law) is the law of Scotland. ...

See also

  Results from FactBites:
European Commission - European Judicial Network - Parental responsibility - Netherlands (3531 words)
Parental responsibility is the term used to refer to the responsibility for raising and caring for the child.
Custody is understood to be parental responsibility or guardianship.
The parent with responsibility for (custody of) the child shall be obliged to keep the parent not charged with the responsibility informed of all important issues regarding the person or the assets of the child.
Family Law - Canada Child Custody, Guardianship & Access (2293 words)
Access is intended to facilitate a meaningful, continuing, post-separation relationship between the child and access parent.
A child’s race, culture or aboriginal heritage and the custodial parent’s willingness to respect and foster the child’s cultural identity is a relevant consideration.
Access has been denied in circumstances where the Court perceives risk to the child, the person has had insufficient contact with the child prior to the application, where there is a problem between the child and the parent, or even where there is a problem between the parents.
  More results at FactBites »



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