ABDUCTION: WF v RJ, BF and RF [2010] EWHC 2909 (fam)

13 JAN 2011

(Family Division; Baker J; 13 August 2010)

After divorcing the German father, the British mother remarried. Some years later she wrongfully removed the children from Germany. The father sought summary return. The mother claimed that the second husband had been violent towards her and that removal was part of an attempt to escape his violence.

The girl had a clear and unequivocal objection to returning and was of an age and maturity at which it was appropriate to take account of her views. The boy was more ambivalent but had indicated he did not want to return. In accordance with Cafcass' assessment, the boy had attained a degree of maturity whereby it was appropriate to take account of his views and the nature and strength of his objections were matters to be considered at the discretion stage.

In the context of Art 13 Hague Convention, exercising discretion in relation to sibling groups should be done in the round, taking each defence in the context of the others. The girl's strong objections, the boy's less strong objections and the harm that would be caused by splitting the siblings all needed to be considered together. Conducting the discretion exercise in the round, scrutinising each of the relevant Art 13 defences in the context of the others, the application for summary return would be refused.

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