Family Law Hub

B v A [2020] EWHC 3138 (Fam)

An application for the summary return of the eight-year-old son to Australia, where he had always lived until being brought without warning to England by the mother. The application was made under the Child Abduction and Custody Act 1985, pursuant to Articles 3 and 12 of the 1980 Hague Convention. It was agreed that the son's habitual residence in Australia and the father's exercising of rights of custody at the material time had both been made out. The task for Mr Teertha Gupta QC, sitting as a deputy High Court judge, was thus to decide on a summary basis whether the mother had raised a valid defence under the 1980 Hague Convention and, if so, whether he should exercise his discretion not to return the child forthwith to Australia. He found that the Article 13(b) defence had not been established; there was no evidence to support the mother's assertion that the child had suffered severe symptoms of intolerable anxiety. Mr Teertha Gupta QC expressed concern that the mother's actions might be symptoms of a deeper wish to eradicate the father from the child's life. It was in the child's overall and long-term best interests to return to Australia forthwith. The father's application was granted.


Published: 18/12/2020

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