Simon Miller represents Bristol City Council in Child Abduction Case


5th Dec 2023 | Cases


Simon Miller represented Bristol City Council in A & B & Bristol City Council [2023] EWHC 3041 (Fam) – an interesting child abduction case. You can read the full Judgement here A v B & Anor – Find case law (nationalarchives.gov.uk)

This case raises two important legal principles and the imposition on local authorities to provide accommodation under s5 Child Abduction and Custody Act 1985 (“CACA 1985”).

The mother abducted the child from Ireland to this jurisdiction. The child has profound disabilities, which were, prior to the abduction, being met by a specialist school in Ireland.

Soon after arrival in this jurisdiction the child was made subject to police protection and was initially placed in a specialist children’s home. After the father had been called by the social worker, he came to this jurisdiction and the child placed in his care in a hotel.

The two important legal principles the court addressed are:

  1. whether the court should release the father from undertakings he gave to the court not to return to Ireland with the child. The court decided it could (see paragraphs 37-64 of the judgement for legal analysis).
  2. whether the court could make an interim return order under s5 CACA 1985 to allow the father to return to Ireland with the child. The court decided it could make such an interim return order (see paragraphs 65-74 of the judgement for legal analysis).

An important issue for the local authority was the funding of accommodation until the final hearing in February, which would fall heavily on local authority purse strings. A recent Supreme Court case reported at [2023] UKSC 45 (28th November 2023), considered analogous issues of limited housing stock and sever budgetary constraints which may well be of importance in any further applications within the remit of this case.

It appears likely permission to appeal will be asked for by one of the parties.


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