HABITUAL RESIDENCE: Re J (Habitual Residence)  EWHC 3364 (Fam)
(Family Division, Peter Jackson J, 3 December 2012)
The 7-year-old child was removed to the USA to live with her mother after spending her entire life in the UK and the vast majority of it in the care of her maternal grandmother. The father was granted parental responsibility and return orders but the mother and paternal grandparents claimed the child's place of habitual residence was now the USA and that the English court no longer had jurisdiction.
On the facts the reality of the child's situation was that she had spent her life in the UK and a legally insecure removal could not alter that. Considerable weight had to be given to that fact and less so to the legal technicalities. The child was habitually resident in England and Wales and the English court, therefore, had jurisdiction.
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