I will be posting a series of relocation case summaries on the blog and then updating my relocation case summaries library which I will post on Children In Law
Z (A Child)  EWHC 139 (Fam)
Decision of the High Court (Pauffley J).
The Australian mother applied in London for permission to relocate to Australia with her 6 year old daughter. The father was Belgian. Since 2006 the family had lived in London, Belgium & Belfast. He disputed the jurisdiction of the English court. Following contact with the child in Belgium he did not return her to the mother, misled the Belgian court and for a short while went into hiding with the child. The English court made a declaration that it had jurisdiction(on the basis of habitual residence since 2007) which father did not appeal although he did not accept it up until the last minute (and did not attend court for hearings in part because of an incorrect belief that he was at risk of imprisonment because of the existence of a port alert). The mother did at one point seek to mediate and withdrew her application to relocate but ultimately went back to her original plan to relocate. The High Court gave the mother permission to relocate to Australia. The mother was clearly the primary carer and it was unthinkable to repeat the situation in which the daughter had been placed when the father had unlawfully retained her. Mother's reasons for wanting to go were proper ones (she felt isolated in London, all her family lived in Australia (she could live with her father), it was her home country, she was likely to find better employment (she was a qualified nurse and already had job offers) & enjoy greater success there) and she would be shattered by a refusal. She had had to receive counselling post the unlawful retention. She was genuine in her commitment to continuing contact with the father. In London, she was understandably anxious about a further attempt at removal by the father which was all the more reason why she needed the support of her family. (The Cafcass Officer had not felt able to make a definitive recommendation in part because of a lack of assistance from the father to discuss the case except by email).
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