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Mother fails to prevent children being returned to their father

A mother has lost her appeal to prevent her children being returned to their father in Canada.

The courts rejected her argument that such a move would cause her to collapse emotionally.

The mother and children had been living with the father in Canada until October 2016. At that point, the mother wrongfully removed the children to the UK and the father applied under the Hague Convention for their return.

She said if a return order were made, she would return to Canada with the children. Her case turned on her own psychological and emotional wellbeing, two experts gave evidence that she suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from the latter stages of her relationship with the father.

At a hearing in September 2017, the judge ordered the mother to return the children. The mother did not appeal. Instead, she applied for the judge to set aside his order.

She produced a report from a consultant psychiatrist which indicated that after receiving a copy of the return order in November 2017, she had collapsed and developed suicidal thoughts.

The judge rejected the application. He was sceptical about the mother’s collapse and held that the psychiatric report accompanying her application provided no clear basis for the assertion that she was unfit to travel to Canada.

The Court of Appeal has upheld that decision. It held that the judge had been entitled to be sceptical about the weight to be attached to the mother’s apparent collapse.

Please contact our expert legal team on 0208 004 0065, by email at hello@southgate.co.uk or using the form below if you would like more information or advice about the issues raised in this article, or any aspect of family law.

Case Citations: [2018] EWCA Civ 1208RE Y (CHILDREN) (2018)CA (Civ Div) (Gross LJ, McFarlane LJ, Coulson LJ)

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