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05 FEB 2008

ABDUCTION: Re T (Abduction: Rights of Custody) [2008] EWHC 809 (Fam)

(Family Division; Coleridge J; 17 March 2008)

The issue whether the father had rights of custody in Oregon, the jurisdiction of habitual residence, was one that was apt to be heard in Oregon, provided the mother was able to be fully represented at the Oregon hearing. The Legal Services Commission was urged to reconsider urgently their decision that they did not have to fund the mother's representation before the Oregon court. The proceedings were not foreign proceedings within Access to Justice Act 1999, s 19, they were English proceedings under the Hague Convention; from time to time issues in such proceedings had to be determined abroad, under Art 15 of the Hague Convention. It would be very strange indeed if a vital issue like the one before the court could not be properly determined because one party could not be represented before the foreign court. If it turned out that the Legal Services Commission would not fund the litigation, and there was no other source from which the mother could fund the litigation before the Oregon court, the matter would have to be determined in a second best way by an English judge.

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