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Supreme Courts hands down Judgment in important child abduction case

Re C 2018 UKSC 8

The Supreme Court's Judgment in the child abduction case of Re C 2018 UKSC 8 has now been handed down.

This was a case in which the mother came to England from Australia with the agreement of the father for an eight week visit. By agreement the visit was extended. However before the expiry of the agreed stay, the mother decided not to return with the children. The crucial questions in this case therefore were what is the legal position if there is an anticipatory retention and also what is the position if the children's habitual residence has changed to the destination country before the act relied on as a wrongful removal or retention.

The mother's appeal was allowed by a majority decision with two dissenting judgments which may explain why the Supreme Court unusually took over four months after hearing the case to deliver it's Judgment. This is an important decision in the area of child abduction and it establishes that:

(1) that repudiatory retention is a legally binding principle in Hague Convention 1980 proceedings and;

(2) an application for return will fail if the child concerned has become habitually resident in the requested state before any wrongful removal or retention occurs

The full judgment can be read here:

https://www.supremecourt.uk/cases/docs/uksc-2017-0135-judgment.pdf