Family Law Hub

Wrongful Removal

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  • The mother requested permission to take her nine-year-old son on holiday to Brazil. The boy was living with the father in England, while the mother had previously made and then withdrawn a wrongful removal claim under the 1980 Hague Convention. Roberts J accepted the mother's evidence that she intended to ensure the child's safe return at the end of any stay in Brazil. The risk was that she would change her mind once the boy was there or be persuaded by her family not to return him. On balance, Roberts J was persuaded that the potential benefits to the child of spending time with his mother in Brazil outweighed the potential risks of a wrongful retention, provided that certain protections, including mirror orders, were in place before the visit. Judgment, 14/01/2020, free
  • 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 son had been retained in India by the mother, despite orders made for his return. The father applied for committal of the mother. Williams J was satisfied that the relevant orders had been properly served on the mother, that she was aware of the obligation to return the son, that the obligation was clear, and that the orders were clear as to the consequences of non-compliance. The mother had wilfully failed to comply with three orders of the court, and he therefore found her in contempt. The sentence of six months' imprisonment was suspended for 28 days to give her a final opportunity to return the child. 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

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