A one year-old child born in the UK to parents from Slovakia is to be sent to the country for care proceedings.
In Re K, the child had been taken into temporary ‘interim’ care following concerns about the “chaotic” behaviour of the mother. She and her partner, both Romanies, had previously come to the UK from Slovakia to escape social services.
The Slovak authorities contacted the International Child Abduction and Contact Unit (ICACU), the central authority for legal issues relating to international child welfare. They applied for the case to be transferred to, under Article 15 of Brussels II Revised, an EU regulation governing jurisdiction in international family law cases. Article 15 grants courts with initial jurisdiction over an international case various powers to transfer the proceedings to “a court better placed to hear the case”.
Mr Justice Mostyn ruled in favour of the transfer and said arrangements should be made to take the boy to Slovakia.
The child’s legal guardian appealed. At the Court of Appeal, Lord Justices Thorpe, Tomlinson and Briggs concluded Lord Justice Mostyn had given too much weight to the precedent set by an earlier domestic ruling. Article 15 needed to be applied in a uniform manner in the different EU member states. Nevertheless, even if he had not done so, Mr Justice Mostyn would have arrived at the same conclusion.
Article 15 only allows cases to be transferred when doing so in the best interests of the child.
They dismissed the appeal.