Date: 12Nov 2015

In this lecture, Chief Justice Bryant will contemplate the rise and development of international family law over the past 40 years, looking specifically at the Hague Conventions on child abduction, child protection, adoption and child support, from inception to the present day. In light of the unprecedented levels of cross-border migration our globalised world is currently experiencing, the issue of international relocation will also be discussed. The lecture will consider the history of key jurisprudential developments in international family law, with a particular focus upon the decline in the influence of common law jurisdictions in this context and the rise of the European Union.

The question of cross-border commercial surrogacy, one of the biggest challenges facing the international family law community at this time, will be touched upon. Further, with the world in the grips of the worst humanitarian crisis since the Second World War, the lecture will consider the intersection of international family law and international refugee law. Finally, the lecture will emphasise the importance of the International Hague Network of Judges as a tool of cooperation and coordination as we face these and other future challenges.

The Honourable Diana Bryant AO was appointed Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia in 2004. Prior to her appointment she was the Chief Federal Magistrate of the Federal Magistrates Court of Australia (now the Federal Circuit Court of Australia) from 2000–2004, having guided the emergence and growth of that court as the inaugural Chief Federal Magistrate. She is one of the two Hague Network Judges for Australia and is presently chairing a working group for the Hague Permanent Bureau in relation to the Child Abduction Convention. She is also co-chair of the Association of International Family Judges. Chief Justice Bryant received a Centenary Medal in 2001 for her role in the establishment of the Federal Magistrates Court and was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2011 for her distinguished service to the judiciary.