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(Family Division, Roderic Wood J, 6 August 2013)
The mother and child, now 8, returned to Poland from the UK when the parents separated. Contact between the father and child had initially taken place but on one occasion the father removed the child without the mother's consent. The father failed to return him and travelled to England again without the mother's consent. The mother initiated Hague Convention proceedings in Poland. Enforcement proceedings had been brought and there was a warrant in place for the child's return to Poland. In addition the Polish court had removed the father's parental responsibility.
The mother applied to the English court pursuant to the Hague Convention for emergency relief and pursuant to BIIR for a declaration of enforcement of the Polish order granting her interim residence.
The court had to consider the enforcement issue first and dismissed the father's submission that pursuant to Art 23(a) and (b) of Brussels II the judgment should not be recognised on public policy grounds. The bar was set very high and the court had to question whether the situation was so obviously and extremely abusive so as to qualify as an exceptional case. The threshold was not met in the circumstances. The court issued a declaration of enforcement.
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