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Family Law

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01 MAY 2011

The Retention of Children after Contact Part 1: Core Principles

Nick Brown

Barrister St Philip's Chambers, Birmingham

One of the most vexed problems for the family courts and one of the most divisive of issues for parents arises from the failure of a non-resident parent to return a child to the resident parent at the end of ordered and/or agreed contact. In this three part article the author considers the fraught issues of such retention. These situations most commonly stem from the non-resident parent making one or both of the following assertions:

(a) the child does not wish to return home; and/or

(b) the child has been harmed while in the care of the resident parent/is likely to be harmed if returned.

This article (over three parts) principally analyses (and discusses the potential consequences) of Re H (Children) (Residence Order) [2007] EWCA Civ 529. Consideration is also given to Re B (A Minor) (Residence Order: Ex Parte) [1992] Fam 162, [1992] 2 FLR 1 and Re K (Procedure: Family Proceedings Rules) [2004] EWCA Civ 1827, [2005] 1 FLR 764. It is argued that a clear and detailed understanding of these cases, especially Re H, is vital in order to steer these difficult cases to a proper and speedy conclusion.

To read the rest of this article, see May [2011] Family Law journal.

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