Court Interpreting Services
and a Father’s Right to Custody in the International Context

We’ve blogged about legal interpreting and translating services for international family law cases. Under the Hague Abduction Convention and EC Regulation 2201/2003, a parent has what is termed ‘rights of custody’. However, at least in the EU, many courts are ruling to expand the scope of this right. For example, in J. McB. V. L.E., the Irish Supreme Court rules on the question:

“Does the European Convention on Human Rights preclude a Member State from requiring by its law that the father of a child who is not married to the mother shall have obtained an order of a court of competent jurisdiction granting him custody in order to qualify as having ‘custody rights’ as defined by Brussels IIbis?”

According to Irish law, an unmarried father has the right to apply for guardianship. In the case at question, the father failed to file the application prior to the mother moving the children to England. Thus, the father filed an action in the English courts to have the children returned to Ireland. In accordance to Brussels II, the English court referred to Irish law and whether the removal violated the father’s right to custody. Ultimately, the court found that the right to guardianship is equal to a right to custody under the Hague Convention terms. Of course, in a situation involving non-English speaking jurisdictions, determining whether a right to custody exists will require a foreign language translation.

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