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Hague Convention 1980

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  • The father in child abduction proceedings had applied for directions to implement a return order. The mother had brought the children from Texas to England in 2017, and had been ordered to return them. The Court of Appeal had held that it would be intolerable to return the children to the USA without their mother, but her application for a humanitarian parole visa had been rejected by the American immigration service. Knowles J was unable to vary the Court of Appeal's order, and so did not have the jurisdiction to entertain the father's application. The parties would have to consider whether to apply to the Court of Appeal for reconsideration of its order. However, she urged them to consider a child-focused, consensual end to the litigation, before further hearings eroded whatever goodwill remained. Judgment, 03/01/2020, free
  • The father applied for the return of his five-year-old daughter to Belgium. The mother's defence raised two issues: whether the court should refuse a return on the grounds of the daughter's objections, and whether it should refuse a return on the basis of article 13(b). Ms C Ambrose, sitting as a deputy High Court judge, decided that the daughter's age and maturity did not justify refusing a return on the grounds of her objection, and it had not been established that there was a grave risk of a return to Belgium being intolerable for her. The return order was made as requested, with the undertakings offered. Judgment, 23/12/2019, free
  • The father, still resident in England, had taken the daughter to Zimbabwe and placed her in a boarding school there. He now faced a criminal trial for child abduction, though he claimed that the mother had consented to the move. The daughter's strong preference was to return to England. Holman J made an order for the father to return the daughter, but once that happened all issues would be completely at large and in the discretion of the court, including whether she should return to Zimbabwe in order to resume her schooling there. Judgment, 23/12/2019, free
  • The father applied for the summary return of the daughter to Malta, pursuant to the Hague Convention 1980. The defence raised by the mother was that the child was not habitually resident there. The child was 21 months old and had lived initially and mostly in England, but had also spent time in Belgium, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Italy, Malta and France. None of the contemporaneous correspondence between the parents illustrated a desire on the part of the father for the daughter to return to Malta, held Mr Teertha Gupta QC, sitting as a High Court judge. The child's habitual residence was always in England because she moved too often to be integrated anywhere else. Any proceedings concerning her would need to be in the Family Court in England. Judgment, 02/12/2019, free
  • The father applied for the summary return of two young girls to the USA. Mr Robert Peel QC had to make a determination as to whether the Hague Convention was engaged and, if so, whether there were statutory exceptions to the principle that the children should be returned to the country of habitual residence for decisions as to their future to be made. He found that the father had not consented to any permanent removal of the children to this jurisdiction. He also found that the pattern of domestic violence and abuse was not such that the Article 13(b) threshold was crossed, nor did the question marks about the mother's immigration status in the United States establish an Article 13(b) defence. Mr Robert Peel QC proposed to make an order for return on the basis of the protective measures he outlined. Judgment, 29/11/2019, free

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