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Relocation - Turkish mother applied for permission to take child on holiday to Turkey - Views of maternal grandfather caused judge alarm - Whether the judge's refusal could be upheld
22 June 2012
Court of Appeal
Thorpe, Black LJJ, Sir David Keene
The Turkish mother and English father met and had a child in England. When the relationship ended a shared residence order was granted with the child spending weekends with the father. Some months later the mother applied for leave to take the child and relocate to Turkey on a permanent basis. That application was refused and a year later the mother, opposed by the father, sought permission to take the child to Turkey on holiday. The judge imposed a prohibition on the mother taking the child on holiday to Turkey for one year with liberty to apply for a review before the expiration subject to the mother obtaining the views of her family on such a holiday. Eight months after the prohibition was imposed the mother renewed her application to take the child on holiday to Turkey and the maternal grandfather gave evidence on his views. In refusing the application the judge highlighted the concerns she had following the grandfather's evidence which included: the dynamics of the family consisting of three maternal uncles and the grandfather; the lack of open communication; the fact that the uncles exercised the financial power; the fact that they supported the mother's application to relocate and emphasised the higher standard of living to be enjoyed in Turkey. These were matters that failed to offer reassurance to the judge and weighed against the grant of the application. The mother appealed.
Held â€‘ dismissing the appeal -
(1) It was for the judge below to see, hear and evaluate the evidence of the maternal grandfather. There was no doubt that his performance in the witness box was the cause of the heightened anxiety to the judge. Far from reassuring her as no doubt she had in advance anticipated, he caused her something close to alarm. It was not for the Court of Appeal to minimise that key consideration. She alone heard the voice of the grandfather, she alone had the opportunity of assessing the dynamics (see para ).
(2) The judge was not speaking forever and she had actively encouraged the mother to reapply once the child was older and they had established a regular routine in this country (see para ).
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