Strengthening Article 20

38 U.S.F. L. REV. 701 (2004)

40 Pages Posted: 6 Aug 2019

See all articles by Merle Hope Weiner

Merle Hope Weiner

University of Oregon - School of Law

Date Written: August 1, 2004


This paper argues that article 20 of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction can and should be invigorated. While the Hague Convention typically requires a court to return an abducted child to his or her habitual residence, article 20 provides a defense if return would violate “the fundamental principles of the requested State relating to the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms.” Strengthening Article 20 explains that this defense has become almost a dead letter, suggests why this is so, analyzes the appropriateness of the defense’s demise, and provides a solid basis for the defense’s revitalization.

Strengthening Article 20 is set in the context of a broad problem: Women who flee transnationally with their children to escape domestic violence are often respondents in Hague Convention proceedings and have their children returned to the place from which they have just fled. Strengthening Article 20 briefly sets forth this problem and very generally suggests that article 20 might be able to help these women. By focusing attention on article 20, with its emphasis on human rights, this article might prompt delegates to address the problem seriously when they attend the 2006 Special Session to Review Operation of the Hague Convention.

Keywords: Hague, Abduction, Human Rights, Domestic Violence, Custody

JEL Classification: K33, K36

Suggested Citation

Weiner, Merle Hope, Strengthening Article 20 (August 1, 2004). 38 U.S.F. L. REV. 701 (2004), Available at SSRN: or

Merle Hope Weiner (Contact Author)

University of Oregon - School of Law ( email )

1515 Agate Street
Eugene, OR Oregon 97403
United States
541-346-3857 (Phone)
541-346-1564 (Fax)

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