Stowe Family Law solicitor Holly Lamb recently represented the mother in a child residence involving no less than three jurisdictions.
At the High Court, Mr Justice Mostyn noted:
“If the subject matter of this case were a ship or a bond or a contract it would be very interesting indeed involving proceedings in three jurisdictions (England and Wales, Italy and Finland) and questions of interpretation of the governing European Regulation, decisions of the Court of Justice of the European Union, and domestic decisions.”
“But the subject matter of the case is a small five year old boy called G. It is pitiful (in the true sense of that word) that such acute and complex legal controversy should rage over his future and I hope that even now sense will prevail and his parents will agree reasonable arrangements for him.”
G’s parents are both Italian. However, while the father currently claims to live in Italy, his mother lives in Finland and the couple actually met in London, although they later moved back to Italy, where their son was born. They married two months later before returning to England. But the marriage broke down and they separated the following year. Their divorce was completed at Canterbury County Court in July 2012.
That same month the mother applied for a residence order and leave to take G on a temporary basis to Qatar, close to Saudi Arabia. She also applied for a prohibited steps order preventing the father from taking G from her home outside his scheduled periods of contact every other weekend.
The subsequent legal proceedings focused on whether leave granted to the mother to take G out of the country counted as a permanent/final or temporary/provisional order under EU regulation (EC) No 2201/2003 – more commonly known as Brussels II – and whether the Italian or English courts had jurisdiction in the case.
Mr Justice Mostyn concluded the permission did constitute a ‘final’ order. He ordered that the English proceedings be ‘stayed’ (suspended) until the Italian courts ruled on whether or not they were first ‘seised’ in the case and therefore had jurisdiction.