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Family Law

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11 NOV 2009

ABDUCTION: K v K [2009] EWHC 2721 (Fam)

(Family Division; Sir Christopher Sumner; 30 October 2009)

The Polish parents were living in Ireland, where the father had obtained work. Some weeks after the couple had moved into separate accommodation the father took the children, who had been living with the mother, to Poland. The mother contacted the authorities about the abduction, but before proceedings were issued the father and children returned to Ireland. Some months later the mother took the two children to England, on the basis, she claimed, of the father's consent.The father started Hague proceedings, but, before these were served, the mother came back to Ireland with the children. After a couple of weeks the mother went back to England with the children. The father issued Hague proceedings; the mother alleged that the father had consented to the initial move to England, and that her subsequent return to Ireland had merely been a holiday.

Under the Hague Convention, where a parent returned with the children for the purpose of an agreed holiday to the country from which they had been removed after a consensual departure, that did not, by itself, bring the earlier consent to an end. It might come to an end for other reasons, but there would have to be a clear indication from the mother, for instance, saying that she was no longer relying on the earlier consent or that her return was permanent, or actions on her part incompatible with any other interpretation. On the facts, the father had consented to the original move to England, and the subsequent return to Ireland had merely been for a holiday.

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