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  • 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
  • A four-year-old girl with British citizenship had been taken to Egypt, and the court had to determine whether she had been habitually resident in England and Wales before then and thus wrongfully removed, and, if she had not, whether the court had jurisdiction to order her summary return. The father contended that the removal was pursuant to the terms of an order made in Beirut. Both parents were Lebanese nationals, and both were currently in England, the child having been left with family members of the father. The mother had accused the father of domestic violence. MacDonald J was satisfied that the child had been habitually resident in this jurisdiction, and that the court retained jurisdiction under the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court. The daughter was a British citizen and both parents were here and intended to remain here, making this the appropriate forum for determining the welfare issues. Returning the daughter from Egypt would create the best chance of her resuming contact with her mother, and there was no one in Egypt with parental responsibility for her. She should be returned from Egypt. The existence of the Beirut order did not prevent this. Judgment, 17/03/2020, free
  • A father's application under the Hague Convention and Brussels II Revised for the summary return of his four-year-old daughter to Spain. The mother argued that the father had acquiesced to the removal and that the child would be at grave risk upon returning, due to the alleged domestic violence which had precipated the move to England. The parents were both British citizens who had moved to Spain as children. To Lieven J it seemed obvious from the father's texts that he fully understood that it was the mother's intention to stay in England with the child, and at no stage did he suggest he was seeking for the daughter to live permanently in Spain. This was a case such as those described in Re H (Abduction: Acquiescence) [1997] 1 FLR 872, where "the wronged parent, knowing of his rights, has so conducted himself vis-à-vis the other parent and the children that he cannot be heard to go back on what he has done and seek to persuade the judge that, all along, he has secretly intended to claim the summary return of the children". As to grave risk, Lieven J held that it would be totally irresponsible to return a young child in circumstances where there were very serious and credible allegations of domestic violence against the father, including that he assaulted the mother when she was pregnant. To do so would put the daughter in an intolerable situation and present a grave risk to her of significant psychological harm. The father's application was rejected. Judgment, 09/03/2020, free
  • The father was HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, Ruler of the Emirate of Dubai and Vice-President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates. The mother was Princess Haya bint Al Hussein, a daughter of the late King Hussein of Jordan. The two children had come to this country with their mother in 2019, and arrangements for contact with the father were being considered. Upon the application of a number of media organisations, the President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane, had decided that three judgments in the case should be made public. These included findings of fact that the father had on three occasions ordered and orchestrated the unlawful abduction and forcible return of two of his other children, involving on one occasion an assault at sea by armed commandos. The father had not appealed against the fact-finding judgment, but appealed against the President's decision to lift reporting restrictions. The Court of Appeal (Underhill, Bean and King LJJ) dismissed the appeal. Judgment, 06/03/2020, free

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