In an article just before Christmas in The Japan Times, the head of Child Abduction Recovery International, highlights the fact that despite the coming into force of the Hague Convention in Japan, now almost two years ago, child abduction remains prevalent. He makes the point that Japan remains in “the Dark Ages” and that even where judges – invariably inexperienced in matters of international parental child abduction – intervene a return order can often “mean nothing” in that decisions are either not enforced or flouted. Concerns over Japan’s approach extends not just to the judicial branch but to the legal profession where lawyers when faced with a client who has been ordered to return a child have been known to suggest that the client absconds, possibly abroad, for a period of time meaning that, if the case were to ever return to court, the child’s country of habitual residence may no longer be regarded as the country where the abduction occurred in. When the judiciary and legal profession almost connive to undermine the Hague Convention it is little wonder that Japan is still seen as a “black hole” when it comes to parental child abduction. It is not something that is seen as remotely unacceptable. Thankfully, in the UK the judiciary does take these issues more seriously – it could hardly take them less seriously. In this regard I am tomorrow attending the 1 King’s Bench Walk Chambers Annual Child Abduction Conference. I attended the same event last year and will write a post about the event in February.
My earliest memory of London is Waterloo Station, the place where I first arrived in the city on a family visit in the 1980s. It serves communities in the south eastern part of England and south west London. It hasn’t changed all that much over the years. One thing that has changed is that a balcony level overlooking the concourse has recently been constructed. I had reason to pass through the station in early December 2015 and, with no particular reason, decided to take the escalator up to the balcony. Once I reached the top of the escalator I came across a wonderful gallery comprising of photographs of different parts of the UK. I took photographs of the ones I liked the most and share these with you below to mark the turn of the year. Best wishes for the year 2016.