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Children

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  • The five-year-old daughter had always lived with her mother, but had been the subject of legal proceedings between her parents for most of her life. All other avenues to engage and promote a good and loving relationship with the father having failed, he was now seeking an order that he should be the child's primary carer and that she should live with him. This application was supported by the child's Guardian. After hearing evidence regarding the consequences of the child being denied a relationship with the father, the mother ceased to actively oppose the father's application. Agreed findings were made that the daughter's relationship with the father had not been consistently promoted by the mother, that the mother was not in a position to promote a positive relationship between the daughter and the father, and that the mother had alienated the daughter from her father. HHJ Raeside (sitting as a judge of the High Court) made further findings including that the father would be better able to promote a relationship between the daughter and the mother. The child's welfare was best met by a transfer of care to her father, as well as an immediate change of school. Judgment, 17/03/2020, free
  • The daughter and both parents were British citizens. The mother had returned to England with the daughter, telling the father that it was for a short break. The father sought the daughter's summary return to Lanzarote in Spain, where he lived. The mother opposed the application on the grounds that the child objected to returning to Lanzarote, and that there was a grave risk that a return would, as per Article 13(b) of the 1980 Hague Convention, cause physical or psychological harm or otherwise place the child in an intolerable situation. The CAFCASS Officer told the court that the child was very firm in her view that she would not wish to return to Lanzarote without her mother. Mr David Rees QC found that the child was objecting in Hague Convention terms to the return, and he was satisfied that he should exercise the discretion not to return her. Also, if the child returned alone, the father would not be in a position to both support her financially and provide care for her, and thus the objection under Article 13(b) was also made out. The application was dismissed and the child would remain in England and Wales. Judgment, 17/03/2020, free
  • The son had been the subject of litigation between his mother and his father in both India and England. The mother sought an order for the child to live with her in England, the father that the child live with him in India. The Guardian supported the mother's proposal. Williams J stated that the father's proposal was fundamentally undermined by the lack of any realistic means of implementing it in the short to medium term. The mother's proposal would best promote the child's welfare. The child would therefore live with the mother and spend time with the father in England, but he would not be allowed to travel to India with either parent until such time as a mirror order was in place there and all Indian litigation over him had ceased. Judgment, 17/03/2020, free
  • The mother appealed from an order made at a First Hearing Dispute Resolution Appointment (FHDRA). Following a telephone call between father and daughter in which it was alleged he had screamed at her, the mother had stated that the daughter no longer wished to have unsupervised contact with him. HHJ Tolson had said he could not conclude that there was any danger in the daughter spending generous amounts of time with her father. Judd J DBE found that the order could not stand in the terms in which it was drafted, and all the provisions which related to child arrangements after the next hearing would be set aside. In the interim, unsupervised contact would take place every other weekend, with the agreement of the parties, the father taking part in family therapy. Judgment, 17/03/2020, free
  • The parties had been in dispute about the beneficial ownership of a valuable property. The former husband sought permission to appeal from findings of fact made in contempt of court proceedings. He contended that despite being an unrepresented litigant he had given evidence without being informed of his right to silence. Peter Jackson LJ found that the court could not be satisfied that no injustice had occurred. If the husband had been informed that he was not obliged to give evidence, he might not have done so. This was a procedural irregularity serious enough to justify the granting of permission to appeal, and the appeal should be allowed. Popplewell LJ agreed. Judgment, 17/03/2020, free

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