Children taken to Russia by father still at risk, says judge

Family Law|December 22nd 2014

A judge in the High Court has ruled that there is still a risk that a Russian father who took his sons to Moscow could do so again.

In Neustadt v Neustadt (Child Abduction), Mr Justice Peter Jackson oversaw a fact finding hearing to determine whether the regret expressed by the father over taking his children out of the UK was genuine.

The parents married in 2004 and moved to London in 2011. Following their separation later that year, a court ordered that neither parent could take the children out of the country without first obtaining permission.

In December 2012, Ilya Neustadt took his two sons to Russia for a “holiday” but did not subsequently return them. After a lengthy legal battle, the children’s mother was eventually able to secure their return to London earlier this year.

The judge said the return of the children marked the first time that an English court order had been recognised by Russia, and that this was “an outstanding example of the value of international cooperation in protecting individual children”.

Mr Justice Peter Jackson ruled that the father’s actions had constituted “an abduction, not a retention” and that he had “no intention” of returning the children once he had picked them up.

He declared that the risk of the father attempting to take the children again was high.

Despite these findings, the judge concluded, the father was “an important figure” in his children’s lives and the next step in the proceedings would concentrate on the children’s welfare.

To read the full judgment, click here.

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