Family Law Hub

Re L (Return Order) [2021] EWHC 2737 (Fam)

The father applied for the summary return of the daughter to a country in which he did not live, and which was not a signatory to the Hague Convention. The application would thus be determined according to the best interests of the child, who wished to remain in London. Both parents had left extremely unpleasant messages on the daughter's mobile phone, neither parent thought twice about disparaging the other in front of the daughter, and each went out of their way to seek to persuade her that the other parent was untrustworthy. In Poole J's view, the damaging effects of their conduct was plain to see. The father's contempt for the mother infected every aspect of his case, and he was often inconsistent in his evidence. The daughter was undoubtedly now habitually resident in England, and her wish to remain was absolutely clear. In Poole J's judgment, it would have taken exceptional countervailing factors to persuade the court that it was in her best interests to be returned against her will, and in fact the balance of other factors, having regard to the welfare checklist under s 1(3) of the Children Act 1989, also weighed in favour of not making such an order. The father's application was dismissed.

Judgment, published: 13/10/2021

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Published: 13/10/2021

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