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High Court rejects Italian father’s return bid

The High Court has rejected an Italian father’s application for his daughter’s return from the United Kingdom.

His application had been made under international treaty the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

In this case, the father had been living in the central European nation of Hungary with the mother, who was a citizen of that country. The child, identified in the judgment as ‘A’, was born there in June 2011. Following A’s birth, the family spent time in both Italy with and Hungary.

That changed in May 2014, when the mother left Hungary with A and moved to the UK. The father claims the move was made without his consent. He reported the incident to the Italian police who launched criminal proceedings. Sitting at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, Ms Justice Russell noted that, as a result, the mother “risks prosecution and possible arrest if she is forced to return to Italy with A”.

The father claimed that A had been legally or “habitually resident” in Italy prior to the move. However, A was enrolled in a Hungarian nursery and had “a secure home base” in the country. This was not the case in Italy. When A and the mother visited Italy they had to stay in “temporary or makeshift” accommodation.

Having considered the evidence, Ms Justice Russell ruled that as A had not been habitually resident in Italy prior to the move to the UK, no return order would be made.

To read A v B in full, click here.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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