The Court of Appeal has sent a complex international residence case involving four children to the Family Division for further consideration.
In Re LC, four children with Spanish citizenship had lived with their parents in the UK throughout their lives. When the parents split up, the mother took the three boys and one girl back to Spain with her. A few months later, they returned o the UK to visit their father and then refused to go back to Spain. The mother applied for their return under the Child Abduction and Custody Act 1985.
The original judge ordered the children’s return to Spain, despite their wish to say in England.
The father appealed the ruling and the Court of Appeal ruled partially in his favour. The Lord Justices said the earlier judge had not given sufficient weigh to the older child’s objections to going back to Spain. She had spent only a brief period in the country and had expressed very clear objections to returning, which should have been given significant weight by the court.
The Court of Appeal reversed the earlier judge’s ruling in relation to the older daughter but they were then faced with the fact that allowing her to remain the UK could lead to the siblings beings separated, placing them in an “intolerable situation”. The case was therefore sent to Family Division for a future hearing.