The High Court has granted an Australian woman permission to return the country with her children despite the fact that she had had previously abducted them.
Re TC and JC (Children: Relocation) concerned the woman’s marriage to a British man. The couple had met in Australia, lived together in the UK for a period, then later married back in Australia. Four years later they returned to England.
The following year, having become unhappy in the marriage, the woman abducted the couple’s two child back to Australia. At the time they were aged three and two. The father launched proceedings under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, and this resulted in the children’s return to the UK.
Later, however, the mother applied for legal permission to take them back to Australia a second time. Unusually, by this point the parents had already reached an agreement that they would both live in the country chosen by the courts for their children. The Cafcass officer assigned to the case felt unable to make a clear recommendation.
Sitting in the Family Division of the High Court, Lord Justice Mostyn considered the couple’s personal circumstances and finances and concluded that the woman would suffer greater hardship relocating permanently to the UK than the father would in moving to Australia.
He therefore granted the woman permission to take the children back to her home country, ordering the couple to share care of the children once there.