Father wins fight to have abducted child returned

A girl who was abducted by her mother has been returned to her father in Australia after he won his appeal in court.

The girl’s parents had lived together in Australia before they separated amid accusations of physical abuse. The mother took the daughter to England without informing her ex-partner or the courts.

The father applied in the English courts for a return order under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction 1980.

The mother opposed the order saying she feared there would be more domestic violence. The father proposed a package of protective measures which included an undertaking not to contact the mother or approach within 250 metres of her home.

The judge rejected the father’s application saying that it would put the mother at grave risk, despite the proposed protective measures.

The father took the case to the Court of Appeal which has now ruled in his favour. It said there was no reason to be concerned that the protective measures offered by the father would not be obeyed and enforced.

The law was similar in Australia and the UK and it was ruled that the girl should return to Australia so the father could continue contact with her.

Case reference: [2011] EWCA Civ 1385 S v C (2011)

CA (Civ Div) (Thorpe LJ, Longmore LJ, McFarlane LJ) 2/12/2011