Family Law Hub

M (A Child) [2020] EWCA Civ 922

An appeal against an order that a thirteen-year-old child, a British national born in England but living in Algeria since 2008, should be brought to England so that an assessment could be made "in a place of safety" as to her best interests and living arrangements. The child had originally been taken to Algeria by both parents, the local authority having been about to initiate care proceedings. The mother now lived in England, and had raised concerns regarding forced marriage. Consular staff in Algeria had undertaken a welfare check with the daughter, and an FCO social work adviser, specialising in child safeguarding, had agreed with their assessment that the visit did not raise concerns about the daughter's health or welfare. In Moylan LJ's view, the substantive threshold required to justify the exercise of the inherent nationality jurisdiction was not crossed in this case; the circumstances did not require the court to act to protect the daughter. The judge's order had also conflicted with the limitations on the court's powers imposed by the Family Law Act 1986, and the judge had not been able to properly determine that his order was one which accorded with the daughter's welfare needs. Baker LJ and Henderson LJ agreed. The appeal had to be allowed, the judge's order set aside, and the proceedings dismissed.

Judgment, published: 23/07/2020

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Published: 23/07/2020

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