International family justice

The Office of the Head of International Family Justice was created as a consequence of 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 2013, on the retirement of Lady Justice Black.

The Office deals with a range of legal queries and correspondence from both internal and external sources (judges in this country and abroad, practitioners, officials in the field of international family law and academics).

It liaises directly with European Judicial Network and Hague Network judicial contacts, for the purposes of assisting, where possible, in the smooth-running of cross-border cases. It also liaises with the Ministry of Justice, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, and the International Child Abduction and Contact Unit, as well as European and International bodies.

The work of the Office involves providing assistance of various sorts, on a range of matters. These include:

  • 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;
  • issues arising under Brussels IIA, the 1980 Hague Convention and the 1996 Hague Convention as well as other European regulations and international conventions;
  • the shaping of developments in European and international family law, practice and policy;
  • domestic and international seminars/conferences.

Administrative and legal support is provided by the International Family Justice Office.

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.

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