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Top Ten Myths in International Family Law

There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about international family law issues. Here is our top 10:

The Supreme Court of Canada provides crucial and long awaited guidance on determining a child’s habitual residence

On Friday (20 April 2018) the Supreme Court of Canada in the case of Office of the Children's Lawyer  v. Balev 2018 SCC 16 provided crucial and long awaited guidance on determining a child’s habitual residence.  The Canadian Supreme Court has intentionally harmonized its approach with that of our own court and many others around the world.

Court of Appeal reinforces focus on the children's needs, not source of risk, in Art 13(b) 1980 Hague Convention

On 27 March 2018 Lord Justice Moylan and Lord Justice Peter Jackson handed down judgment in Re W [2018] EWCA Civ 664. It said in its first paragraph that case was “unusual” because as a consequence of immigration difficulties, the mother was willing to return with the children, but may be unable to do so due to having no right to re-enter the USA.  The father would also experience difficulty re-entering the USA if he left to visit the children.

The mother appealed an order that their children should be returned to the USA in accordance with the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention (potentially) without her.  

The appeal was allowed and the order that provided for the return of the children to the USA, without the Respondent mother in the event of her visa application being refused, was discharged.

Mother facing extradition from Canada for alleged child abduction

Various news outlets in Canada have reported that a Mother of two children (now aged 14 and 16) is facing the prospect of being extradited to the UK to face criminal charges of child abduction following the decision of a British Columbian Supreme Court Justice on Thursday 5 April.

Irrespective of the merits of the current application it is a salutary reminder that parental child abduction is a crime in this country.

New Practice Guidance Issued by the President - Case Management and Mediation of International Child Abduction Proceedings

On 13 March 2018, a new practice direction was issued by the President concerning Case Management and Mediation of International Child Abduction Proceedings.

 A Practice Direction tells anyone involved in judicial proceedings how to manage the case and interpret the Court rules.

Creation of new international child abduction lawyers association in Italy

Partner Helen Blackburn reports on the inaugural conference in Rome. ICALI, the newly established organisation for International Child Abduction Lawyers in Italy, held its inaugural conference in Rome on 23 November 2017.

Child abduction returns trumped by asylum claims

David Hodson, Marianna Michaelides and Lauren Bovington 


What happens when a parent, who has abducted a child to this country and would be ordered to return the child immediately under the 1980 Hague Convention, claims asylum for themself and the child?  Which takes precedence? The English High Court has just dealt with this issue.

Spanish abduction case receives huge media attention

A parental child abduction case has caused a social media frenzy in Spain. The Spanish mother, Juana Rivas wrongfully removed the children aged 3 and 11 in May 2016 from their home in Italy where they lived together with her partner, the children’s father. She is now refusing to return the children following a Return Order made by the Spanish court, citing fears that she and the children will be exposed to domestic violence in the event they return to Italy.

Jamaica joins the international family law community

We were delighted to learn today that Jamaica has joined the 1980 Child Abduction Convention.  In doing so, it has also become the 150th state to be connected to the Hague Conference on Private International Law.  It is the 97th contracting state to the child abduction Convention.  The UK and Jamaica have many historic close family links.  It is therefore beneficial for all families with UK Jamaica connections, and their children, that this international law now applies.

LEPCA II report

On 26-27 January 2017 I attended and participated in the LEPCA II conference in Berlin.

Lawyers in Europe on Parental Child Abduction (“LEPCA”) was set up to bring family lawyers together to discuss commons issues and experiences, exchange ideas, and learn best practices in order to create a platform of specialised international parental child abduction lawyers within the European Union.