Court Report: Application to relocate children

Coram Children's Legal Centre
Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Case name: Re TC and JC (Children: Relocation) [2013] EWHC 292 (Fam) Case number [2013] EWHC 292 (Fam); Judge: Mr Justice Mostyn; Location: The High Court of Justice (Family Division)

An Australian citizen abducted her two children from England, aged three and two, to take them to Australia. Following Hague proceedings in Australia, the children were returned to the UK and cared for under a shared arrangement.

In the UK, the mother issued a relocation application. In considering the application, Justice Mostyn found that the case was unusual in that the parents agreed that the unsuccessful parent in the proceedings would live in the jurisdiction of the other to provide a shared care arrangement.

The Cafcass officer felt unable to decide where the balance lay between the parents. Mr Justice Mostyn stated that his determination would involve a factual evaluation and value judgment. He held that the only authentic principle to be applied when determining an application to relocate a child permanently overseas was that the welfare of the child is paramount. Mr Justice Mostyn found in favour of the mother as the mother’s capacity to meet the children’s needs would be diminished if she was required to stay in the UK due to her potential bankruptcy and complex immigration requirements. He emphasised that he must “eschew any temptation to punish the mother” for her former conduct in abducting the child and that his decision was “based from first to last on the interests of these children”.

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