In its case law on international child abduction, the European Court of Human Rights (ecthr) seeks to interpret the European Convention on Human Rights (echr) in conformity with the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. Both instruments safeguard the best interests of abducted children, but in different ways. This article explores the progress made by the ecthr in harmonising the conflict between the Hague Convention and Article 8 echr. While the ecthr’s approach to the abducted child’s best interests in Neulinger and Shuruk v. Switzerland was met with strong criticism, the Court seems to have found a viable approach in X. v. Latvia. The ecthr’s current tactic allows it to continue its dialogue with national authorities and international bodies by imposing procedural requirements, thereby contributing to a harmonised approach appropriate to the best interests of abducted children without negatively impacting the functioning of the Hague Convention.
J. Costa‘The Best Interests of the Child in the Recent Case Law of the European Court of Human Rights’Franco-British-Irish Colloque on Family LawDublin 14 May 2011 <www.child-abduction.net/Home/Doc/ECHR%2020110514_COLLOQUE_Dublin_FR.pdf> visited on 1 October 2014. See also Schuz supra note 17 p. 27.
ecthr Rules of Court of 1 July2014. See also H. Keller and C. Marti ‘Interim Relief Compared: Use of Interim Measures by the un Human Rights Committee and the European Court of Human Rights’ 73 Heidelberg Journal of International Law (2013) pp. 325–375 referring to B. v. Belgiumsupra note 22 para. 35; Neulinger and Shuruk v. Switzerlandsupra note 7 paras. 5 and 10.