UK-Poland Child Abduction Crisis - Poland's Systemic Failures

Poland’s systemic failures:

  1. Every abductor is given the chance to appeal court decisions to return abducted children to the UK, before any practical steps are taken.
  2. Appeals take months and sometimes over a year, meaning abducted children are never returned quickly and great harm is done.
  3. Evidence shows that senior politicians and officials intervene in the Court of Appeal to sway decisions in favour of children remaining in Poland, regardless of the circumstances – the evidence for this even includes the politicians’ own posts on social media.
  4. Poland introduced an additional ‘exceptional remedy’ in 2022 whereby any return decision following the Court of Appeal can be suspended by various public officials without the need to give legal ground.
  5. Even if a return order reaches the execution stage, children are almost never returned, because, extraordinarily, Poland has no mechanism to enforce the return of abducted children even after final court orders have been made.
  6. Often the abduction of the child is criminal in UK law, but Poland never extradites the abductor.
  7. Consequently the best information indicates fewer than one in twenty UK children abducted to Poland Is ever returned.
  8. This compares disastrously compared to countries such as the UK that follow the international rules on parental abduction – so the UK resolves most abduction cases within six weeks, and the default that most abducted children should be returned is reflected in an average 80% return rate.
  9. The European Commission launched prosecution of Poland for infringements regarding abduction law in the European Court of Justice on 26th January 2023.
  10. In July 2023 Poland the official review of law across Europe  found Poland was the worst performer for law and order across the EU, which is reflected in its appalling track record of systemically failing to resolve of child abduction.

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