High Court judge warns parents against travelling to Ireland to escape care orders

Children|Family|News|April 7th 2013

Royal CourtsHigh Court judge Mr Justice Cobb has told parents who fear their child will be taken into care that Ireland cannot provide ‘sanctuary’.

Ruling in the case of an English mother who had crossed the Irish Sea to try and escape care proceedings, the judge noted:

“I am advised that there are other parents who have considered leaving this jurisdiction ….to avoid public authority intervention in their lives, and to achieve some juridical advantage through process in the Irish courts. Quite apart from the fact that the parents themselves in this case apparently soon came to realise that this was not a good solution for [the child] or themselves, this [case] will underline how effectively the courts of England and Wales and the courts in Ireland, and the public authorities in each state, are able to co-operate.”

He added: “The approach of the English courts and the Irish courts appears to be similar – the Irish Constitution exhibits no intention to establish Ireland as a sanctuary for families from other jurisdictions.”

In Re L-M, the woman had travelled to the Republic of Ireland while in the late stages of her fourth pregnancy. Her three earlier children had ball been taken into care and now lived with relatives. She later admitted that she had hoped to prevent her fourth child being removed as well but the baby girl was placed in foster care soon after her birth and the Irish authorities duly began care proceedings.

The child’s parents returned to England and did not see her for four months. They applied for the care proceedings to be transferred to the English courts and for their daughter to be brought back as well. The Irish and English authorities both agreed with the request and an order was made under Brussels II Revised, a regulation which governs jurisdiction in family law cases involving more than one EU member state.

The case was transferred to the local authority in which the girl’s three half siblings now lived.

Photo by Elliott Brown via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence

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