Over the years there have been numerous cases regarding the abduction of children. Most of the cases have involved a parent taking a child or children back to the country from where the parent originates.
Historically, the courts have followed the letter of the law and have considered the evidence to work out where the children are ‘habitually resident’. In some cases the decision of the court would perhaps not be what the man in the street would think would be the correct one.
In a recent case (LC v RRL and others) the father and the eldest child, who was 13 years’ of age, made an appeal to the Supreme Court against the decision made by the High Court that all four children should return to live in Spain with their mother, they were born in England. In the first judgment of its kind, the Supreme Court found that the ‘state of mind’ of the children was a relevant factor, in other words the children’s views as to where they were to live were taken into account. The decision of the court was that the children should remain living in England where they were born, despite the fact that they had moved with their mother to Spain in the summer of 2012.
Abduction is a complicated area of law and one on which clear guidance is required. In this case, the children were living in Spain and had come to England to visit their father for the Christmas holidays and it was when they said to him that they wanted to remain living in England that he decided they should remain here. Historically, this would have been a case where the children had been ‘abducted’ by their own father, if it were not for the decision of the Supreme Court that the children’s voices should be heard.
If you would like further information and advice regarding the abduction of children or any other family issues, please contact our Family team on 0161 475 7676.