Cleary Authors Child Advocacy Amicus Brief in Hague Child Abduction Proceeding

January 24, 2022

Cleary Gottlieb filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Supreme Court on January 24, 2022, in support of Narkis Aliza Golan, the mother and petitioner in a Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Convention) proceeding involving allegations of domestic violence.

The brief was filed on behalf of Child Justice Inc., Prevent Child Abuse New York, and Professor Jennifer Baum, as amici, all leading advocates for children’s rights and the prevention of child abuse.

Golan v. Saada is pending before the U.S. Supreme Court on the specific issue of whether the Hague Convention requires courts to consider ameliorative measures, even after a court has determined that a child faces a grave risk of exposure to harm upon return to their country of habitual residence. There is currently a circuit split on the issue, with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit mandating an ameliorative measure analysis.

Amici explained in their brief that mandating an ameliorative measure analysis was not only contrary to the original purpose of the Hague Convention, but lagging behind how U.S. courts treat the child’s interests in child custody cases involving domestic violence. They argued that an ameliorative measures analysis often does not adequately account for coercive control in domestic violence cases, in which children often become pawns in a power asymmetry between the primary caregiver (often the abducting parent) and the abuser. They further noted that case studies have shown that children who are returned to their habitual residence after an ameliorative measures analysis were often harmed upon return.

Read the amicus brief here.