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15 NOV 2010

CONTACT/ RELOCATION: Re F (Internal Relocation) [2010] EWCA

(Court of Appeal; Wilson, Rimer and Black LJJ; 27 October 2010)

The mother sought a specific issue order permitting her to move with her four children from north-east England to one of the Orkney isles. The mother and her new husband had accepted jobs on the island. The father enjoyed regular contact with the four children and the judge refused the application. One of the children was ambivalent about the move, one in was in favour, and two opposed it. The judge found the move would cause the children huge emotional strain and harm. The proposals were as close to removal from jurisdiction as possible and so exceptional that it was appropriate to refuse leave. The issue was whether the case was truly exceptional.

Mother's appeal rejected. The exceptionality test placed impermissible gloss on exercise of s 1(1)(3) tests, under which the children's welfare paramount. The mother's application was almost unarguable on welfare basis. If exceptional circumstances were needed, the Court of Appeal would have found such circumstances in this case.


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