In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and following a video message of the Secretary General, the Permanent Bureau (PB) of the Hague Conference on Private International Law has developed a COVID-19 Toolkit.
The COVID-19 Toolkit spots situations covered by Hague instruments on which the pandemia may have a particular impact, and compiles references to specific HCCH resources and publications thereto relevant in light of the current global situation. It is designed to assist users of the HCCH Conventions and other instruments in these challenging times and beyond.
The HCCH COVID-19 Toolkit is divided into two main categories: International Child Protection and Family Matters, covering, inter alia, child abduction, family maintenance and intercountry adoption, and International Legal Cooperation, Litigation and Dispute Resolution, concerning, among other things, service of documents and the taking of evidence abroad.
Within each category, a short description is made on the presumable effect of the pandemia, followed by a quick access to the most pertinent instruments or guides connected, such as the Guide to good practice on the “grave risk exception” to prompt return under Article 13(1)(b) of the 1980 Child Abduction Convention.
The PB has expressed its hope that “the Toolkit will continue to encourage the effective operation of the HCCH instruments, ultimately ensuring better access to justice for individuals, families and companies across the globe, as well as facilitating cross-border trade, investment and dispute resolution, even in these uncertain times”.
It is indeed a worthy initiative with a helpful, user-friendly outcome (which, when it comes to putting legal rules into practice, is more than welcome).