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08 NOV 2007

Court of Appeal rules that two boys don't have to live in France with their mother

Two boys who refused to live in the South of France with their mother have won the right to remain in England with their father.

The two brothers aged 11 and 16, had moved to France with their French mother in 2005 after her marriage to their British father broke down. The boys, who couldn't speak French at the time, failed to settle into their new lives and, after a summer holiday with their father in England, refused to return to France.

The mother then started a High Court action under the Hague Convention, in which she accused the father of abducting the two children. Mr Justice Coleridge, sitting in the High Court, allowed the children to stay in England with their father and said that he had never heard such strong objections" from two young children and ruled that there were "exceptional" reasons why the two boys should be allowed to live in England with their father.

Lord Justice Thorpe, who led the panel of three appeal judges, refused the mother permission to appeal and said he had "rarely, if ever, heard such strongly expressed views by children of this age" and consequently their objections should be respected.

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