Family Law Hub

Wardship

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  • Both parents lived in England. The mother had taken their three-year-old daughter to India in March 2019, and returned without her, leaving the child with the maternal grandparents. Though born in England, the daughter was not yet a British citizen. In April 2021, the father had applied under the inherent jurisdiction for a wardship order and a return order. This hearing was to determine whether the court had jurisdiction (including the question of habitual residence), and whether the father's delay in issuing proceedings was fatal to his application. Peel J concluded that the child had continued to be habitually resident in England and Wales and had been so at the date of the father's application. He noted that the mother had offered very little evidence about the child's situation in India. As to delay, that would be a factor in considering whether wardship and return orders should be made, but it did not entitle the court to strike out the claim unless the prospects of success had been so hopeless as to justify the exercise of case management powers in such a profoundly draconian way. Judgment, 18/09/2021, free
  • In wardship proceedings, the mother alleged that she and the children (aged 8, 4 and 3) had been victims of transnational abandonment. This was denied by the father, whose case was that the parties had made a consensual decision to relocate as family to Pakistan. He contended that the courts of England and Wales did not have jurisdiction in respect of the children; alternatively, that they should not exercise any jurisdiction because welfare decisions could more conveniently be made in Pakistan. Circumstances meant that the case had to be adjourned, but Mr Richard Harrison QC, sitting as a deputy High Court judge, considered the situation as it stood to be one in which the children were likely to be suffering from emotional harm. It was not tolerable for them to continue to be separated from their parents. It was clear to him that the essence of the mother's case was likely to be correct. The removal of the children to Pakistan had been procured on the basis of a deception, and was thus in breach of the mother's rights of custody, and a wrongful removal for the purposes of Article 10 of Brussels IIa. Having been the primary carer throughout the children's lives, the mother was the person best placed to meet the children's emotional needs. He ordered their immediate return to this jurisdiction. Judgment, 25/09/2020, free
  • Father's application for children to be made wards of court and for summary return of them to Nigeria. Application successful as the judge found that their welfare would be better served by determination in Nigeria. Judgment, 12/12/2018, free
  • Application, among others, to make two children, born under a surrogacy agreement, wards of court in circumstances where no parental order had been made transferring parental responsibility from the surrogate parents and child arrangements needed to be settled after the mother with care remarried. Judgment, 26/06/2018, free
  • An unsuccessful application by a father (“F”) to return the child to Iran in circumstances where F was found to be controlling and manipulative and not to be trusted to encourage the relationship between the child and mother (“M”). There was no prospect of safeguards being agreed; and no prospect of even the beginnings of those safeguards being implemented; there was no safeguard that anything the English courts imposed carrying weight; but there was a significant and real prospect that F, once he had achieved his objective of the return of the child to Iran, would set about frustrating the safeguards which had been put in place to achieve that end. Judgment, 12/12/2017, free

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