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Family Law

The leading authority on all aspects of family law

23 MAR 2015

London Borough of Hackney v JC and Others [2015] EWHC 742 (Fam)

London Borough of Hackney v JC and Others [2015] EWHC 742 (Fam)
(Family Division, Hayden J, 19 March 2015)

Jurisdiction – Habitual residence – Public law children proceedings – American mother and Moroccan father – Whether the child was habitually resident in the UK

Please see attached file below for the full judgment.

In care proceedings the judge found that the 4-year-old child had been habitually resident in the UK throughout her life despite living a somewhat peripatetic existence.

Care proceedings were initiated in relation to the 4-year-old child, of the American mother and Moroccan father after she was taken to hospital, having lost consciousness and suffering a serious and potentially life threatening episode. The mother admitted using inappropriate and physical chastisement and she was arrested. She was charged and one of her bail conditions prevented her from having unsupervised contact with her daughter.

The child had been in foster care since 2013. Initially she was placed under a police protection order and subsequently under s 20 of the Children Act 1989.

The mother was assessed by multi-disciplinary team and was found to display features of narcissistic and borderline personality disorder with some traits of antisocial and dependent personality disorder. During proceedings the issue of jurisdiction arose and it fell to be determined where the child was habitually resident.

It was clear that the mother had lived a peripatetic existence in recent years but the UK was undoubtedly where she regarded her home and that was why she wished her daughter to be born her to gain British citizenship. During her time in Morocco she learnt no Arabic and did not improve her French. There was no sense of her integrating into life in Morocco. She had regularly returned to the UK and for most of the time the mother had been the child’s entire social and family environment. The child’s habitual residence was and had been throughout her life, like that of her mother, the UK.
Neutral Citation Number: [2015] EWHC 742 (Fam)
Case No: ZC14C00005


Royal Courts of Justice

Date: 19/03/2015

Before :


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Between :


- and -

1st Respondent
2nd Respondent
3rd Respondent
4th Respondent
SR (by her Child’s Guardian)
5th Respondent

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Finola Moore for the Local Authority
Mr Henry Setright QC & Sally Bradley (instructed by Freemans) for the 1st Respondent
Mr Frank Feehan QC & Mr Chris Barnes (instructed by Goodman Ray) for the 2nd Respondent
Mr and Mrs OV in person
Mr Edward Devereux for the child, SR, by her Children’s Guardian (instructed by Duncan Lewis)

Hearing dates: 26th, 27th, 28th & 29th January 2015

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London Borough of Hackney v JC and Others [2015] EWHC 742 (Fam)

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