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Family Law

The leading authority on all aspects of family law

25 JAN 2011

ABDUCTION/ HABITUAL RESIDENCE: DT v LBT [2010] EWHC 3177 (Fam)

(Family Division; Peter Jackson J; 7 December 2010)

For most of the 10 year relationship, the British mother lived in England her children while their Italian father lived and worked in Italy. The mother suffered considerable emotional, sexual and physical domestic violence at the hand of the father. The father bullied the mother into moving to Italy with the children, but after 9 months she returned to England via a refuge in Italy. The father brought Hague Convention proceedings. The mother indicated that she would not return to Italy with the children if their return was ordered.

Held that a person is to be taken as acting voluntarily in adopting their habitual residence in a country unless their presence there was enforced. On the facts an order for the return of the children to Italy would (whether she accompanied them or not) expose them to a grave risk of harm and would not in any way serve their interests.

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