ABDUCTION/WARDSHIP: ES v AJ [2010] EWHC 1113 (Fam)

03 JUN 2010

(Family Division; Sir Nicholas Wall P; 19 May 2010)

Both parents originated from the British Cameroons. Their twins were born in England and the family lived with the paternal grandparents. The mother alleged that she was abused. The one year old twins were taken by their paternal grandfather to live with the paternal grandmother in Cameroon. Many months later the mother claimed that the twins were wrongfully removed from England. The father claimed that this was a consensual decision. The mother issued wardship proceedings, seeking an order against the father for the return of the children to her care.

The issue was whether the children were habitually resident in England. The court was satisfied that there was an agreement between the parents to send the twins to Cameroon, even though there was no fixed date for the children's return. The mother had been in regular contact with the children. The twins were currently habitually resident in Cameroon and the court had no jurisdiction. The mother could pursue remedy there.

The court would not have exercised jurisdiction if had existed. The twins had been in Cameroon for 18 months and the mother had failed to promptly pursue remedies.

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