International family justice

The Office of the Head of International Family Justice was created following Lord Justice Thorpe’s appointment in January 2005 as Head of International Family Justice for England and Wales, by the Lord Chief Justice, then Lord Woolf, and the Lord Chancellor.

Lord Justice Moylan was appointed Head of International Family Justice for England and Wales in 2017, on the appointment of Lady Black to the Supreme Court. Mr Justice MacDonald is the Deputy Head of International Family Justice for England and Wales.

The International Family Justice Office is responsible for liaising with members of the Hague Network and the European Judicial Network of judges for the purpose of assisting, where possible, in the efficient resolution of cross-border family cases.

The Office also liaises with the International Child Abduction and Contact Unit, the Ministry of Justice and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, as well as European and International bodies, and deals with enquiries from judges in this jurisdiction and abroad, practitioners, officials in the field of international family law and academics.

Within this context, the work of the International Family Justice Office includes:

  • Liaison with judges in other jurisdictions on international family law issues arising in individual cases, including in cross-border public law (care) cases relating to children, and in international child abduction and relocation cases;
  • Dealing with queries arising under Brussels IIA, the 1980 Hague Convention and the 1996 Hague Convention as well as other European regulations and international conventions;
  • Contributing to the shaping of developments in European and international family law, practice and policy;
  • Attending domestic and international seminars and conferences;
  • Providing administrative and legal support to the Head and Deputy Head of International Family Justice.

The office can be contacted by email: ifjoffice@hmcts.gsi.gov.uk. The legal adviser to the Head of International Family Justice can be contacted by telephone: 020 7947 7197.

Please note that the Office is not able to provide legal advice.

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