Since the COVID-19 outbreak has been declared a pandemic by the WHO, numerous States have implemented travel bans to contain its spread.
For example, on 17 March 2020, the EU announced a decision to close all external borders and restrict non-essential travel between Member States. Other States took similar steps. And even at the national level, States took measure to prevent the entry of travellers from places severely affected by the virus.
In addition, States have now closed courts and adjourned or even cancelled hearings. And even where online hearings are possible, significant delays are widespread.
Such restrictions cause direct impacts on transnational families and may hinder, in particular, the prompt return of children in cases of international child abduction.
It is possible that parents may encounter difficulties in commencing proceedings before the competent authorities, as well as complying with an agreement or return order.
This Client Brief raises some of the issues, parents will need to consider in this regard.