The Hague Convention on Child Adoption

For those who want to be parents, adoption is a viable option and can occur domestically or internationally. The Hague Convention on Protection of Children & Cooperation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (the “HCCA”) is a multilateral treaty between more than 75 countries, including the United States, that became effective in April 2008. The HCCA provides protections for children and families that are involved in adoptions between countries that are parties to the treaty. The HCCA also works to prevent the trafficking, sale, and/or abduction of children.

International Adoption
Adopting a child from an HCCA country is vastly different from adopting one from a country that is not a party to the treaty. If you are an American citizen interested in international adoption, you should make yourself aware of the requirements.

Generally, the HCCA adoption process involves the following steps:
● Choosing a U.S.-approved or accredited adoption service provider;
● Apply to the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) and be found suitable and eligible to adopt internationally;
● Be matched with a child by the authorities in the minor’s country of origin;
● Apply to the USCIS to request the child be found eligible for immigration to the U.S.;
● Receive provisional approval from the US to proceed with the international adoption;
● Adopt or obtain legal custody of the minor in the child’s country of origin;
● Successfully obtain a U.S. immigrant visa for the child in order to bring him or her home.

Other Key Points

The HCCA provides further safeguards for children, birth parents, and prospective adoptive parents. The primary focus of the HCCA is to ensure that each adoption is in the best interest of the child in addition to preventing the abduction, trafficking, and sale of children. For the United States, the Intercountry Adoption Act (ICAA), as well as the Immigration & Nationality Act (INA), implement those purposes. The requirement that adoption service providers (ASPs) be approved or accredited by the U.S. Department of State’s designated accrediting agency for HCCA cases ensures that these providers meet federal standards designed to ensure the use of ethical and professional adoption standards. Similarly, the U.S. HCCA adoption procedures are proposed to avoid potential issues that could hinder children from entering America. The process is structured in a manner that can identify potential pitfalls before adoption occurs in the child’s home country.

International Litigation Support
If you need international litigation support, contact Ancillary Legal today. Our team has significant experience and can support all your domestic and international litigation needs. If you need support for your depositions, court reporting, transcripts, and videography, contact us at Elizabeth Gallo Court Reporting. 

Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act: Recent SCOTUS Decision

Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act: Recent SCOTUS Decision


Last year, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) made multiple decisions addressing the application of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA). This federal law was enacted in 1976, creating the legal presumption that foreign nations are not subject to the jurisdiction of American courts. There are exceptions, however, if the foreign nation’s actions are considered “foreign state activity” under Section 1605 in the United States Code. Below is one recent SCOTUS decision on this matter.


Philipp Case


The case, Federal Republic of Germany v. Philipp, involves a 42-piece collection of medieval religious art known as the Guelph Treasure. The art’s estimated value is $250 million and is on display at Berlin’s Museum of Decorative Arts. Phillip, the plaintiffs, were heirs of a group of German-Jewish art dealers who sold the work in 1935 to the state of Prussia during the Nazi regime after initially buying the artifacts in 1929. The legal issue was whether Hitler’s government forced the sale to the state.


The plaintiffs first brought their legal claim before the German government’s Limbach Commission, which determined that the sale was fair and that the art did not need to be returned. The plaintiffs then filed suit in U.S. court against Germany and the federal body responsible for the operation of the museum housing the artifacts. The plaintiffs argued that sovereign immunity does not apply and the coerced sale constituted an act of genocide, in violation of international human rights law. Germany argued that sovereign immunity applied and a foreign nation’s taking of the property of its own nationals fell under domestic and not international law.


The U.S. District Court rejected Germany’s argument and motion to dismiss, as did the D.C. Circuit court. Germany petitioned the SCOTUS, which held that while the FSIA may allow U.S. courts to have jurisdiction over sovereign nations when property is taken in violation of international law (“expropriation exception”), American courts did not have jurisdiction in the Philipp case because the exception does not apply when a foreign nation takes the property of its own nationals. In its decision, the SCOTUS analyzed both domestic and international law and found that neither supported the plaintiffs’ claims.


International Litigation Support


International litigation can become complicated very quickly. From determining which law applies, how to properly serve an overseas defendant, or deposing a witness in a foreign country, you should do your research. If you need litigation support for an international lawsuit, contact Ancillary Legal today. We can provide assistance for all your litigation needs. If you need assistance with court reporting, please contact Elizabeth Gallo Court Reporting. 

Hague Convention: Child Abduction

Child abduction is a serious issue, particularly when it happens on an international level. It is estimated that every 40 seconds a child is abducted or goes missing in the United States. Globally, about 8 million children are abducted each year. The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (“Hague Abduction Convention”) is a multilateral treaty providing a streamlined and quick method to return a child from one member country to another who has been abducted internationally by a parent. The Hague Abduction Convention became enforceable as of December 1, 1983. The primary purpose of the treaty is to preserve the “status quo” custody arrangement that was in place immediately before a purported abduction occurred by a parent. The treaty only applies to children under 16 years of age and as of 2021, there are 101 parties to the convention.
Only Procedural Remedy
It is important to understand that the Hague Abduction Convention does not change any substantive rights of the parents or the child. Instead, the treaty mandates that a court in which the Hague Abduction Convention action is filed should only determine the country in which the custody dispute should be adjudicated and not consider the merits of any underlying custody battle. Importantly, the allegedly abducted child is returned to the member state and not specifically to the parent seeking the return of the minor. The Hague Abduction Convention requires that all countries party to the treaty act expeditiously in all proceedings that seek the return of a child and that their institutions use the quickest procedures available with a final decision that happened within six weeks of the initiation of the legal matter.
Understanding Wrongful Retention or Removal
The Hague Abduction Convention defines retention or removal of a child as “wrongful” when:
● When the rights of custody are breached by a person, institution, or any other body under the law of the state where the child was a habitual resident immediately before the retention or removal; and
● At the time of the retention or removal the custody rights were exercised or would have been but for the child’s retention or removal.
Child custody rights may stem by operation of law, by a judicial or administrative decision, or by an agreement by the parties that is legally binding under the laws of the country of habitual residence. The retention or removal of a child is wrongful when it is done without the consent of the other parent, in disregard of the rights of that parent.
For more information on the Hague Abduction Convention, click here.


For service on a defendant through the Hague, contact us today.

Court Reporting: Common Misconceptions

Court Reporting Misconceptions

For those who work outside of the legal industry, it can be difficult to understand how important court reporters are to the legal field. And, not surprisingly, as more and more lawsuits are filed in American courts the value of a neutral record of all aspects of legal proceedings — inside and outside of the courtroom — also continues to grow. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (“BLS”) the court reporting industry is expected to increase job openings for workers by 9% between 2019 and 2029. This growth is much faster than the average growth in other industries. The BLS has determined that this growth is affected, in part, by new federal laws requiring TV programming and real-time broadcasts to be closed captioned for the hearing impaired.

Despite the growing demand for court reporters, the trend is that fewer and fewer workers are entering the field. The reason for this, in part, is due to the misconceptions about the occupation. Below are some of these wrong assumptions.
● It is simply typing: Perhaps the most damaging myth is that court reporting is “just typing.” A stenograph, which most people have never seen, only has 22 unmarked keys. Court reporters often have to record high-profile cases with impeccable accuracy at an extremely fast pace. While the average person can type 40 words per minute with a 92% accuracy. The speed of the average court reporter is 225 words per minute.
● Anyone can do it: There is a common misconception that court reports can be easily replaced by digital recording devices or unskilled typists. In reality, court reporters can capture the meaning and nuances that even the most sophisticated artificial intelligence or algorithms miss. Court reporters have a flawless understanding of language as well as legal and/or technical terminology. Likewise, live court reporters do not malfunction like voice-capture technology can.
● The career is easy: While many institutions offer placement programs for newly minted court reporters, statistics show that a large percentage drop out within the first two years of their career. While the reasons for dropping out vary, the most common are due to the overwhelming pressure of speed and accuracy required by the job.
● Not much training: Aspiring court reporters must learn to use equipment like stenotypes and complete a court reporting program that awards an associate’s degree or certification. Reporters also undergo on-the-go training. Depending on the state, certification or licensure is required and likely involves passing an exam and skills test.
For more data on court reporting in the legal industry, visit the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

To schedule a court reporter. Contact us here.

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