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24 JUN 2014

LC v RRL [2014] EWFC 8

LC v RRL [2014] EWFC 8

(Family Court, Roderic Wood J, 16 May 2014)

[The judicially approved judgment and accompanying headnote has now published in Family Law Reports [2015] 1 FLR 1019]

Hague Convention – Habitual residence – Children’s objections

Please see the attached file below for the full judgment.

When the mother and father of four children separated the mother and children relocated to Spain where the children were enrolled in schools. They had contact with the father in England at Christmas but refused to return as agreed.

In Hague Convention proceedings a return order was granted but on appeal the order in relation to the oldest child who was 13 were discharged and the return orders for the younger children were stayed pending resolution of whether they would be subjected to a grave risk of harm if returned without their older sibling.

The case was remitted for rehearing by the Supreme Court for determination of whether any of the children were habitually resident in Spain when they refused to return and what order should be made in respect of the three younger children.

The initial judgment was reviewed in light of the decisions in A v A [2013] UKSC 60, Re KL [2013] UKSC 75 and Re LC [2014] UKSC 1.

Taking into account the children’s wishes at the time of their move to Spain and the finding that the mother’s evidence was woefully unreliable, none of the children had been habitually resident in Spain at the time of their visit to England. The conclusion as to the youngest child who was 4 years old at the time was based on the unity of the sibling group and the shared experiences of all the children.

Given the finding as to habitual residence it was not necessary to consider the possible defences but if the judge were wrong on the habitual residence issue, it was clear that this was a close sibling group and that separation would be too painful to comprehend. In light of all the evidence the Art 13(b) intolerability defence was made out.

The fully referenced, judicially approved judgment and headnote will appear in a forthcoming issue of Family Law Reports. A detailed summary and analysis of the case will appear in Family Law.

  Case No: FD13P00122
  Neutral Citation Number: [2014] EWFC 8 (Fam)IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE

Royal Courts of Justice

Date: 16/05/2014

Before :


(In Private)

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Between :


- and -


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Mr H Setright QC and Mr E Devereux (instructed by Dawson Cornwell) appeared on behalf of Appellant
  Mr F Feehan QC and Mr C Hames (instructed by Goodman Ray) appeared on behalf of Respondent
  Mr D Williams QC and Miss J Renton (instructed by The International Family Law Group LLP) appeared on behalf of T
  Mr S Kearney appeared on behalf of the Guardian

Hearing dates: 12 and 13 May 2014

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LC v RRL [2014] EWFC 8

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