On 19 June 2020, the POAM research team hosted the International Experts’ Workshop ‘Rethinking the Protection of Abducting Mothers in Return Proceedings: Domestic Violence and Parental Child Abduction’. The workshop, which was originally due to be held in Milan on 27 March 2020 and hosted by Professor Costanza Honorati, was rescheduled on account of the Covid-19 pandemic. The much-anticipated rearranged workshop took place on the Collaborate Virtual Platform and was organized by the POAM Principal Investigator, Dr Katarina Trimmings and Research Assistant, Dr Onyoja Momoh. The experts’ workshop brought together 40 experts from 10 countries (the UK, Croatia, Germany, Italy, Belgium, The Netherlands, Finland, Spain, Serbia and Slovenia). The experts included distinguished judges (from the Supreme Court to the Court of First Instance, and to include Hague Network Judges – from the UK this included Sir Mathew Thorpe, Lord Justice Moylan and Lord Brailsford), academics including professors, practitioners, Government officials including the Central Authority, National Points of Contact and experts from the Hague Conference on Private International Law and the European Commission.
The experts’ workshop was divided into two sessions, with the first session focusing on protective measures for the abducting mother issued by the Hague Convention return court in the return proceedings, and the second session concentrating on protective measures for the mother as self-standing measures, i.e. issued in proceedings that are separate from the Hague Convention return proceedings (for more information see the Workshop Programme). The workshop was moderated by the POAM team – Dr Katarina Trimmings, Prof Costanza Honorati, Prof Anatol Dutta, Prof Mirela Zupan and Dr Onyoja Momoh, and the discussion was guided by the workshop ‘information document’ that set out the key themes and corresponding discussion questions, and had been prepared by the organisers and shared with the workshop participants in advance of the event. The participants were able to engage in the debates through: (1) live discussions; (2) contributions via the group comment section and (3.) multiple choice polls. The workshop received hugely positive feedback from the participants.
The POAM project has been running for 18 months and is concerned with the intersection between domestic violence and parental child abduction and is a major collaboration across four jurisdictions: the United Kingdom, Croatia, Germany and Italy. Further information about the project and its progress across all four jurisdictions can be found on the POAM project website, events page on https://research.abdn.ac.uk/poam/