Family Law Hub

P (A Child) (Abduction: Inherent Jurisdiction) [2021] EWCA Civ 1171

An appeal against the decision of the deputy High Court judge, who had exercised the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court to order the return of the boy to India, and had refused an application by the boy's mother under the 1980 Hague Convention for his return to the USA, from where he had been removed in disputed circumstances by the father in 2017. The father was currently in prison in London, awaiting an extradition decision, an international arrest warrant having been issued after he removed the boy from the USA. The mother currently sought asylum in the USA. The child was currently in the care of a paternal aunt, in England. The mother appealed on the grounds that the judge had failed to respect international comity by ignoring the American orders, the judge's welfare analysis had been inadequate, and the judge's finding of fact that the mother had consented to the permanent removal to India had been flawed. The challenges to the findings of fact failed. So did the argument on international comity: the American orders had been based upon the mother's case that the child had been abducted, and the deputy High Court judge had found that he had not been. As to welfare, in Peter Jackson LJ's view the deputy High Court judge's approach had been sound, and practical. He did not accept that the decision to return the boy to India had been wrong. His one reservation was with regard to contact after the boy returned. Proposals from the father's solicitor for direct and indirect contact in India for the mother and maternal family would be reflected in a recital to the Court of Appeal's order. Arnold LJ and Henderson LJ agreed. The appeal was dismissed.

Published: 03/08/2021


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