Lawyer calls for end to ‘kidnapper’s charter’



Yousif Ahmed

A Scots lawyer is calling for an end to a loophole in the law that allows one parent to remove their child from Scotland without the consent of the other.

Yousif Ahmed, 29, is urging the Scottish government to propose changes to the law to bring it into line with rules south of the border, where such an act would be a criminal offence.

Mr Ahmed has spoke to Justice Secretary Michael Matheson and is being supported by Reunite International, a charity dealing with international parental child abduction.

Mr Ahmed, an associate with Cannons Law Practice in Glasgow, said: “With the world becoming smaller, international relationships are becoming more common but if such a relationship breaks down it is ultimately the children who may end up paying the highest price by losing all contact with a parent and their friends.

“With the exception of Scotland, the rest of the United Kingdom rightfully criminalises the wrongful act of parental child abduction. That is a form of deterrence firmly in place.

“Surprisingly, we do not have that deterrence here – parental child abduction is not recognised as a criminal offence unless a court order has been obtained prohibiting the removal of a child and that in itself raises various problems and issues.”

He added: “To obtain such a court order, you must have some prior knowledge of a pending or imminent abduction and go through a formal legal process which in most cases is not fit-for-purpose, nor effective for preventing parental child abduction from Scotland.

“We also have a distinct lack of protocol and practice for preventing parental child abduction where an abduction is suspected as being likely – what that means is that without a court order, there are is no scope of alerting police to put in place port alerts or red flags which can alert UK border control of a child being at risk of parental child abduction, unlike in England and Wales where a system of protocol and practice is in place to help prevent this from happening.”