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Family Law

The leading authority on all aspects of family law

05 NOV 2012

ABDUCTION: ZA, PA v NA [2012] EWCA Civ 1396

(Court of Appeal, Thorpe, Rimer, Patten LJJ)

The mother and her four children, now aged between 2 and 11, were held against their will by paternal family members in Pakistan after travelling there for what the mother believed would be a holiday. The three oldest children were born in the UK and the fourth was born while being held in Pakistan. Following the birth, with the assistance from her family, the mother was able to escape and return to the UK. Prior to her departure the father issued custody proceedings in Pakistan which were not served to the mother.

Upon her return to England the mother issued proceedings and all four children were made wards of court and an order was made for their immediate return on the grounds that they were habitually resident in the UK. A further order was subsequently made freezing the husband's assets in this jurisdiction. The order for return was repeated and the father sought permission to appeal.

Permission to appeal granted. There was no doubt that the High Court had correctly identified its responsibility to protect the three older children and there was no question of them ceasing to be habitually resident in this jurisdiction. However, the position of the youngest child was different given that he had never been resident in the UK. The appeal would be allowed in respect of the youngest child. Thorpe LJ dissenting.

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