Research into the effectiveness of the operation of the UK-Pakistan Judicial Protocol on Children Matters
The UK-Pakistan Protocol on Children Matters 2003 was the culmination of a process which emanated from the deep concern of those who witnessed the increasing number of cases involving wrongful removals or retentions of children between the United Kingdom and Pakistan, and the difficulties experienced in securing return of the children involved.
In late 2007 we commenced a piece of research to enquire into the way in which the Protocol is working in both jurisdictions. The research was conducted by the reunite Research Unit, led by Dr. Marilyn Freeman, and was funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
We considered several aspects of the use of the Protocol through a sample of Protocol-related cases in both jurisdictions. In total we considered 86 cases which were kindly provided by the Office of the Head of International Family Justice acting as the Liaison Judge for the Protocol, as well as the documents in 9 Pakistani cases. In addition, questionnaires were sent to 86 firms of lawyers in the UK and to 33 firms of lawyers in Pakistan, seeking practical information concerning the way in which the Protocol is currently working within both jurisdictions.
We have recently completed our research and whilst reunite strongly supports the UK-Pakistan Protocol on Children Matters, we believe that the operation of the Protocol can be improved so that it is better able to achieve its laudable aims, to protect the children of the UK and Pakistan from the harmful effects of wrongful removal or retention from one country to the other.