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Family Law

The leading authority on all aspects of family law

18 MAY 2015

Re HA (A Child) (No 2) [2015] EWHC 1310 (Fam)

Re HA (A Child) (No 2) [2015] EWHC 1310 (Fam)
(Family Division, Baker J, 8 May 2015)

[The judicially approved judgment and accompanying headnote has now published in Family Law Reports [2016] 1 FLR 966]

Jurisdiction – Art 15, BIIR – Public law children proceedings – Change in plans for long-term care – Child settled in foster care in UK – Child would be placed in children’s home in Lithuania if returned there – Whether it was still appropriate for jurisdiction to be exercised by Lithuanian court

Please see attached file below for the full judgment.


The court ruled that it should retain jurisdiction in relation to the 8-year-old child and that the Lithuanian court was not better placed to hear the application for a care order.

The first set of care proceedings in relation to the 8-year-old child had been transferred pursuant to Art 15 of Brussels II Revised to the courts of Lithuania where he originated from: Bristol City Council v AA and HA [2014] EWHC 1022 (Fam), [2015] 1 FLR 625. It was now possible to state that the terms of the order left ambiguity as to whether the transfer requested was in respect of just the proceedings or of a wider jurisdiction. It was envisaged that the maternal grandmother would possibly be able to care for the child.

After the Lithuanian court accepted jurisdiction the maternal grandmother notified the local authority that she could not longer consider caring for the child due to her obligations in caring for her elderly mother. Enquiries revealed that if he returned to Lithuania the child would be placed in a children's home. He was currently settled in foster care in the UK.

The local authority and the guardian submitted that it was in the child's best interests for the English court to retain jurisdiction and at all times the child had been habitually resident in England and Wales. The local authority applied for a care order.

A transfer of jurisdiction under Art 15, BIIR, was confined to a specific case or part of a case. It did not include the general jurisdiction in respect of the exercise of parental responsibility for the child. The English court had jurisdiction to hear the care order application. It had not been demonstrated that the Lithuanian court would be better placed to hear the proceedings or that a transfer would be in the child's best interests.

When an Art 15 transfer request was made the court had to precisely identify the case or specific part of the case in respect of which it was inviting the court of the other Member State to assume jurisdiction. In considering whether the other court was better placed to hear the case the English court required appropriate information about the processes and legal principles to be applied in the other Member State.

Case No: BS14C01135
Neutral Citation Number: [2015] EWHC 1310 (Fam)

IN THE FAMILY COURT AT BRISTOL

Royal Courts of Justice
Strand
London
WC2A 2LL

Date: 08/05/2015

IN THE MATTER OF THE CHILDREN ACT 1989
AND IN THE MATTER OF COUNCIL REGULATION (EC) 2201/2003
AND IN THE MATTER OF HA (A CHILD) (NO.2)

Before :

THE HONOURABLE MR JUSTICE BAKER

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Between :

BRISTOL CITY COUNCIL
Applicant

- and -

AA (1)
SA(2)
HA (by his children’s guardian) (3)
Respondents

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Marcus Scott-Manderson QC and Stuart Fuller (instructed by Local Authority Solicitor) for the Applicant
Henry Setright QC and William Seagrim (instructed by Hopkins Law) for the First Respondent
The Second Respondent was not present nor represented
Leslie Samuels QC and John Ker-Reid (instructed by Kelcey and Hall)) for the Third Respondent

Hearing dates: 10th March 2015

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -



Re HA (A Child) (No 2) [2015] EWHC 1310 (Fam) 

Judgment
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