Family Law Hub

N (A Child) [2012] EWCA Civ 886

  • Case No: B4/2011/2962

    Neutral Citation Number: [2012] EWCA Civ 886

    IN THE COURT OF APPEAL (CIVIL DIVISION)

    ON APPEAL FROM THE PRINCIPAL REGISTRY

    FAMILY DIVISION

    (MISTER JUSTICE RODERIC WOOD)

    Royal Courts of Justice

    Strand, London, WC2A 2LL

    Wednesday, 23rd May 2012

    Before:

    LORD JUSTICE WARD

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    IN THE MATTER OF N (A CHILD)

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    (DAR Transcript of

    WordWave International Limited

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    Mr Stephen Cobb QC (instructed by Goodman Ray Solicitors) appeared on behalf of the Appellant.

    The Respondent did not appear and was not represented.

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    Judgment

    (As Approved by the Court)

    Crown Copyright©

    Lord Justice Ward:

    1. This is a renewed application for permission to appeal the orders made by Roderic Wood J on 27 October 2011, permission having been refused on the papers by Thorpe LJ. No doubt having had proper regard to the views expressed by Thorpe LJ, the application for permission is not renewed in respect of the judge's findings that the parties' habitual residence was in Lebanon, not in this country. So what is currently sought to be appealed are the orders that are made or that have not been made under the court's inherent jurisdiction. The basis of the application is that since the hearing there have been new events which falsify the basis upon which the judge proceeded, and so the application is to admit that fresh evidence and to take it into account.

    2. It seems to me that this court is able at least to consider that evidence, form a view of it and decide whether it is strong enough and credible enough to justify a variation order or (and this may be more likely) whether it at least gives rise to the case being remitted to the judge for reconsideration.

    3. There is an authority called A v A [1988] 1 FLR 193. It is a judgment of Sir John May, not Sir Anthony May, so it dates back to about 1988, from memory (I confess I have not looked it up) in which May LJ sets out how the court should approach fresh evidence of this kind. It may be helpful to put that before the Court of Appeal. It is arguable enough and I would give permission on that ground.

    4. What has troubled me is the jurisdiction question, and the only connection this child (I emphasise child) has with this country is that she is a British subject. That may be enough to found jurisdiction in wardship. Whether it is enduring enough to entitle the court to exercise that jurisdiction when the finding is that the child is ordinarily resident outside the jurisdiction is an interesting question.

    5. As I would have expected, Mr Stephen Cobb QC is well versed with the technicalities. He will explain this arcane labyrinth to the full court, and it might be a jolly good thing that the Court of Appeal lays down when, if at all, inherent jurisdiction can be exercised over a child who is not resident here, has no connection with this country other than the fact when she was born in Thailand and she was registered as a British subject at the embassy in Thailand.

    6. So I give permission to appeal. Half a day. A court of three.

    Order: Application granted.

Judgment, published: 08/08/2012

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Published: 08/08/2012

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