Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Hague Abduction Convention: No Appeal from Denial of Summary Judgment Motion

The First Circuit has ruled that the denial of a petitioner’s motion for summary judgment in a proceeding for an order directing the return of a child pursuant to the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction is not appealable. Rigby v. Damant 5/15/2007. The mere fact that the case ultimately sought injunctive relief did not mean that the denial of a motion for such an injunction decided on anything that touched on the ultimate relief. Nor was mandamus review warranted.

The Court addressed the basic issue that summary judgment motions might help to expedite Hague cases in line with the directive in the Convention that judicial proceedings should be completed if possible within six weeks. The Court stated that Article 11(2) of the Convention provided the appropriate solution for any such delay. However, that provision merely authorizes an applicant or Central Authority to “request a statement of the reasons” for any delay.

The decision highlights the difference between the practice in the United States, in which full hearings are usually required in Hague cases, and that in jurisdictions such as the U.K., where Hague cases are typically decided much faster and primarily on a review of the submitted papers.