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Brussels II Revised

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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
  • 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 children had repeatedly told their guardian, and through her the court, that they wanted to continue living with their mother in England. The Spanish court had ordered that they live with their father in Spain. Russell J DBE found that on any objective and neutral analysis both children were habitually resident in England. They were settled here and were fully integrated into their schools and social environment. There was no significant evidence contrary to such a finding, and jurisdiction was with and in this court. The mother's appeal against enforcement of the Spanish order was allowed. The children would live with her, and would have contact with the father, subject to him providing written permission for the renewal of the children's passports, and documentary evidence that the Spanish order had been discharged and all criminal complaints in Spain against the mother had been dropped. Judgment, 06/02/2020, free
  • The parents were British and Jordanian nationals, who married in Jordan in 2010 and moved to England in 2011. The mother applied for a declaration that their six-year-old son was habitually resident here, and for an order prohibiting the father from removing the boy from the care of the mother or from this jurisdiction, and from making further applications regarding the child in Jordan. The father argued that the Kingdom of Jordan was the appropriate legal forum for determination of the welfare issues. MacDonald J was wholly satisfied that the child was habitually resident in the jurisdiction of England and Wales, where he had been born and had lived for all but sixteen months. It was therefore the natural and appropriate forum for the welfare issues to be determined. Judgment, 03/01/2020, free
  • The mother had been in Poland with the daughter for two years, after a wrongful retention. The Polish court had refused the father's application under the 1980 Hague Convention in view of allegations of sexual abuse made against the father and paternal grandfather. The father now applied for the daughter's return under Article 11(7) of Brussels II Revised. Mr Teertha Gupta QC, sitting as a deputy High Court judge, did not accept that the mother had been disenfranchised by the process. The question for him was whether it was in the child's best interests to return here, in order for a court to make enquiries and determinations about her best interests. The Guardian's position was that the child should be returned with immediate effect for assessment. Mr Teertha Gupta QC concluded that he had no alternative but to order the child's return. Judgment, 28/11/2019, free

Latest know-how

  • In a tweet: Wife fails to establish divorce jurisdiction in England and Wales. Case note, 16/10/2019, members only
  • In a tweet: Article 19 BIIR: court best placed to decide which court is first seised should determine the issue. Case note, 02/10/2019, members only
  • Florence Jones, Pupil, 1 Hare Court, writes a case summary of Pierburg v Pierburg [2019] EWFC 24. Case note, 26/04/2019, members only
  • In brief: A preliminary ruling from the ECJ determined that in order to establish habitual residence under Article 8 BIIR, a child must be physically present in the member state. The circumstances of the child being physically present elsewhere are irrelevant. This was a referral from the English High Court where the father ("F") had allegedly coerced the mother ("M") into remaining in Bangladesh with the child, potentially in breach of their ECHR rights. Case note, 17/12/2018, members only
  • In a tweet: Habitual residence at time court is seised is key to jurisdiction, not where child will be living Case note, 12/01/2017, members only

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