The Court of Appeal has dismissed a British father’s bid to prevent his five year-old daughter’s relocation to Sweden.
In Re B (Child) (Relocation: Sweden), the mother was born and raised in Sweden. In 2007, she moved to England and shortly thereafter began a relationship with the father. The couple moved in together in 2008 and two years later, their daughter was born.
The parents’ relationship soon broke down. After an attempt to unlawfully keep their daughter in Sweden, the mother was ordered to return to England in 2012 with the child under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.
Upon her return, the mother applied for permission to relocate with her daughter to Sweden in what turned out to be “protracted” proceedings due to numerous adjournments.
During this time, the father made a number of serious allegations against the mother. These included a complaint that his daughter “may have been strangled by the mother because of bruises on her neck”. The judge ruled that such accusations were “untrue” and “highly exaggerated”.
However, the mother was struggling in England. She “had been using alcohol chronically and excessively” for a period of months starting in 2013. A psychologist who treated her said this could be because “she had not settled in London and was genuinely unable to foresee a happy future for herself and [her daughter] here”.
The mother’s central argument was that she was isolated in England, but would not be in Sweden. Therefore she would be able to provide a much better quality of life for her child if she could relocate. Mr Justice Mostyn admitted the case was difficult, but ultimately agreed with the mother and allowed her to relocate.
The father challenged this decision in the Court of Appeal. He took issue with the assessment of the mother’s problems as a symptom of loneliness.
Sitting at the Royal Courts of Justice, Lady Justice Black ruled that there was no evidence that Mr Justice Mostyn had been “wrong in the approach that he took to the material before him or in the decisions that he made”. She, along with President of the Family Division Sir James Munby and Lord Justice Briggs, subsequently dismissed the father’s appeal.
To read the full judgment, click here.