Dealing with the sensitive situation of child retention or abduction

We recently acted in proceedings in the Family Division of the High Court in Northern Ireland on behalf of a mother seeking the return of her child to Northern Ireland from the father, who resided in a non-Hague Convention country.

Whilst it was established that the child’s habitual residence was Northern Ireland, one of the issues in this complex case was whether the Court should make an Order which was not enforceable in the country in which the child was currently living.

The Court, in its written judgment, referred to the observation of Lord MacDermott in McPherson v The Department of Education (NIJB22 June 1973) that an Order of the court “does not usually issue if it will beat the air and confer no benefit on the person seeking it”. The Court, while noting that this was clearly relevant in this case, went on to make the return Order.

The Court considered that “there may be a stage in the future that the child may be present within the borders of a country that would permit the enforcement of the Order to take place” and that it was in the child’s best interests to be returned to live with their mother.

Further details of the case can be read here:

Cases involving the retention or abduction of a child are extremely complex, sensitive, and almost always traumatic for those involved. Our specialist family and matrimonial team have the experience and expertise to support our clients in the most difficult circumstances of this nature.

For assistance in Hague Convention or other Child Abduction or Retention cases, please contact Clare Lenaghan in our Family and Matrimonial Department.