Emily Rayner and Rob George in A Father v A Mother [2024] EWHC 1149 (Fam)

18th Jun 2024 | Cases

Emily Rayner represented the Applicant father and Rob George led Henry Pritchard, of 1 Hare Court, representing the Respondent mother in A Father v A Mother [2024] EWHC 1149 (Fam); an application by a father for the summary return of a 13 year-old child to Lithuania. Emily was instructed by Wilsons Solicitors, while Rob and Henry were instructed by The International Family Law Group.

Mother, father and child K were Lithuanian nationals who resided in Lithuania. In September 2021 the mother sent K to stay with her own mother in England, without the father’s knowledge. The mother soon followed her daughter to England. Hague proceedings were stayed for two and a half years by mutual agreement while the case made its way through the court system in Lithuania. Lithuanian courts determined that K should live with her mother, but that the law in Lithuania did not allow a ‘retrospective’ authorisation of a relocation after the event, and so the Hague proceedings were resumed in England. 

Cusworth J rejected the mother’s argument that the circumstances of the case, given the two and a half year delay and the degree of K’s settlement in England, made a return ‘intolerable’ under Article 13(b) of the Convention. However, the judge found that the child objected to a return, and this opened the door to the discretion whether to order her return or not. Given the amount of time that had elapsed which had allowed K to become well settled in England, coupled with K’s strong views, the court refused to order the return. Return order refused.

An article about this case appears on The International Family Law Group website.

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