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(Family Division, Theis J, 12 July 2013)
The Slovakian mother moved to England with the child to pursue a relationship with the step-father. Care proceedings were commenced after the child was taken into police protection due to injuries being observed on his back at school, which he indicated had been caused by his step-father. The court held that the child was habitually resident in the UK and refused to transfer proceedings to Slovakia under Art 15 of Regulation of Brussels II Revised but directed that it would be reconsidered at the conclusion of the fact-finding hearing. The local authority asserted that the threshold had been crossed due to the child's injuries being caused by the mother and step-father and because they had both failed to protect the child from harm. In addition they had failed to meet his health needs and had required dental work, caused by poor diet and poor oral hygiene. The guardian agreed with the local authority that the evidence supported findings being made against both parents.
On the facts of the case, the threshold criteria were met. It was more likely than not that the child had been physically abused by his mother and his step-father and they had failed to meet his health needs.
Although the balance of considerations had previously tipped in favour of proceedings remaining in the UK that had been largely due to the benefits of determining the factual foundation in the country in which the incidents had taken place. However, now that the facts had been determined the balance tipped in favour of an Art 15 request being made.
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