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One of the exceptions to mandatory return of an abducted child under the Hague Convention on the Civil of Aspects of International Child Abduction 1980 is that the proceedings are commenced after the expiration of the period of 12 months from the wrongful removal or retention and that the child is now settled in its environment (provided for in Art 12(2) of the Convention). This article discusses critically the Court of Appeal decision in the case of Cannon v Cannon in relation to the interpretation of the concept of 'settlement' in this exception and the scope of the discretion conferred by the provision. It is argued that courts should take a more child-centred approach in construing and applying the Convention in general and this provision in particular. In a postscript, the article analyses the later House of Lords decision in Re M (Abduction: Zimbabwe) which, while agreeing with the Cannon decision in relation to the scope of the discretion conferred by Art 12(2), takes a more child-centred approach to the exercise of discretion under the Convention.
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