Family Law Hub

Re A and S (Children) [2021] EWHC 2492 (Fam)

The 15-year-old daughter applied for the release of her own Russian and Greek passports, currently held by the mother's solicitors pursuant to a previous order, so that she could travel for about three weeks with her maternal grandmother to Barnaul in Russia. The father opposed the application. In Holman J's view, the risk of non-return was a low one. The daughter was old enough and mature enough to understand the gravity of a solemn promise given to a judge and to her father, and the gravity of breaking it. Formal undertakings would be given by both the mother and the grandmother which would carry sanctions if broken. The mother's passport would be lodged, together with that of the daughter's sibling, so that if the daughter did not return from Russia, there would be no question of the mother and sibling travelling there to join her. The risk was far outweighed by the benefits to her of the proposed trip and her own strong wish to travel there. The trip would therefore be permitted and the daughter's passports released.

Judgment, published: 20/09/2021


See also

  • A hearing that had been listed for consideration of issues of contact between the father and the children, "subject to a review of the English court's position in the event that the Russian court accepts jurisdiction". There had since been a hearing of several days' duration before a court in Russia, which had clearly decided that it had jurisdiction to make substantive orders in relation to the children, that the children were habitually resident in Russia (notwithstanding that they were attending schools during term time in England), and that the children should reside with their mother at a place of their mother's choosing. In Holman J's view, he was obliged to "abstain" from exercising further jurisdiction over any matters which clearly fell within the territory of the Russian proceedings and judgment, though he noted that the father was appealing the previous order of the Family Court. With those appeals in mind, he declined to make an order permitting the mother's solicitors to release the passports: the mother had frankly said that if she were able to return with the children to Russia she would keep them there and not permit them to travel again to England until she was quite confident that she would not be "ensnared" by further legal proceedings. Judgment, 19/04/2021, free

Published: 20/09/2021


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