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International Family Law

The leading authority on international family law

29 MAY 2013

Re M and J (Abduction: International Judicial Collaboration) [2000] 1 FLR 803

Edward Bennett

Barrister and General Editor

16 August 1999

Family Division

Singer J

Singer J had to consider whether to order the return of two children to the USA in order for them to live with their maternal great grandmother in circumstances where:

  • the father had served prison sentences in the USA for drugs offences and had been deported to the UK;
  • the mother, upon her own release from prison for similar offences, removed the children to live in the UK; and
  • in so doing, breaching her probation resulting in an arrest warrant being issued against her.

Firstly, Singer J liaised with the Californian criminal judge who had issued the warrant for the mother's arrest. With the assent of the US District Attorney who was listening into the conversation, the US judge gave his assurance that he would recall and quash the warrant, reinstate the mother's probation, minute the direct judicial communication on the court record, and take no further action (in the event of the Mother returning to California) until the issues relating to the children had been resolved.

Secondly, Singer J liaised with a US family law judge who agreed to do what he could to ensure that any child custody proceedings instituted in California would be given such a degree of priority as was consistent with a proper investigation of the issues raised. The US family judge made himself available to entertain representations on an inter partes basis at short notice and, in the absence of any agreement, was prepared to regulate immediate arrangements for the children on an interim basis, prior to their physical arrival in his jurisdiction.

Edward Bennett


May 2013

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