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Child Abduction Case Studies

Case study One

We acted for a husband who resided in America. He and his wife held dual Nigerian and USA citizenship (they were born in Nigeria). The parties separated and the wife took the children on holiday to Nigeria. She failed to return them. Nigeria is not a signatory to the Hague Convention.

A year later, the mother took the children on another holiday from Nigeria to England. The father issued an application under the Hague Convention and the mother and children were prohibited from leaving the UK. The father sought the return of the children to the US.

The mother relied on defences of acquiescence, grave risk of harm and that the children were settled in Nigeria and a year had passed since their move away. The judge found that the proceedings had commenced more than 12 months after the wrongful retention and the children were settled in Nigeria. He rejected the mother’s other defences. Having found the children settled in Nigeria, the judge nonetheless decided to exercise his discretion to return the children to the US. The mother appealed this decision.

The Court of Appeal, Lady Justice Black giving the lead judgment, upheld the mother’s appeal. The Court found that the children were settled in Nigeria and did not view the US as their home.

Case study two

We acted for a father who resided in Germany. The mother had dual German and British citizenship, as did the child. They separated and the child resided with the father. The mother removed the child from the father’s care and took him to England. The father issued an application under the Hague Convention for the return of the child to Germany.

The mother relied on defences of grave risk of harm and acquiescence. The mother eventually agreed that she did not have good prospects of success so agreed to return the child to Germany. A return order was agreed by consent.

Case study three

We acted for a father who resided in the Netherlands. The mother removed the parties’ son to Morocco without the father’s permission. She then took him to England a few years later, on holiday. The father issued an application for a location order (as he had heard the mother was in England, but did not know their whereabouts) and a port alert was put in place. The mother was stopped boarding a plane back to Morocco. The father issued an application under the Hague Convention for the return of the child.

The mother relied on defences of grave risk of harm, acquiescence, and settlement. The court agreed that the child had settled and no return order was made. The father now has contact with the child in England.

Our Child Abduction specialists are part of our London based child abduction and forced marriage law team. We have almost four decades of experience helping clients from around the UK with a wide variety of legal matters. For expert legal advice use our contact form or call us on 0808 250 6017 today.