Mother wins appeal against Irish custody order

Family Law|July 24th 2017

The mother of a three year-old girl has won her appeal against an order saying her daughter must be sent back to live with her father in the Republic of Ireland.

The order, made in the Irish courts last year, transferred sole care of the girl to her father who lives in the country.

The toddler, referred to as ‘E’, had been living in England with her mother and half-sister for a year by that point. The former couple had separated not long after E’s birth and the mother had looked after her since that time.

The father saw E regularly until December 2015, when the mother abruptly decided to move to England. She believed she did not need the father’s permission and told him of the move only after her arrival in England, saying she had relocated because the father of E’s half-sister had been violent.

E’s father went to the courts, applying, in the terminology of the Irish courts, for ‘Guardianship/Access/Custody’ of E. A solicitor attended the resulting hearing in Dundalk on the mother’s behalf, but did so without meeting her or fully understanding the case, in part because the father had not clearly explained the nature of his application.

The solicitor conveyed offers of contact for the father to the court but these were not regarded as sufficient and he was awarded full custody.

The mother’s subsequent appeal went before Mrs Justice Roberts in the High Court. A separate appeal had been made in the Irish courts and the father had countered by applying to have this struck out. But these hearings were adjourned until the High Court had ruled on whether or not the original custody ruling could be enforced in England.

The mother argued that the Irish ruling had not allowed her daughter an opportunity to express her views, something required by (EC) No 2201/2003, an EU regulation setting down rules for family cases involving more than one member state. It is more commonly known as Brussels II (Revised).

Mrs Justice Roberts accepted this argument. Another placed on the mother’s behalf was her claim that she had not been given enough to make her case properly before the Irish court. The Judge also accepted this claim, saying:

“In the circumstances, I accept [the submission] submission that the father has failed to make out his case on the balance of probabilities that the mother had sufficient time to enable her to arrange for a defence of his application for a transfer of custody and/or that she had a sufficient opportunity to be heard on this issue.”

Consequently, the original custody hearing had been “manifestly contrary to public policy taking into account the best interests of the child.”

Photo of Dublin Airport by Sean MacEntee via Flickr

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  1. Paul says:

    Editing is a wonder thing.
    What I read here was.
    Malicious Irish mother moves her child to England to rob her of a constructive relationship with her loving father. The father put up a valiant attempt to continue to be a valuble part of the childs life but was over ruled by our facist and sexist family court system who fail to realise the harm it is doing to the child.
    The child has lost her father. The woman has taken deliberate obstructive action moving the child to England away from her heratige and her loving father. An the court has inexplicably supported the mothers unreasonable behaviour.
    Seriously. How can you editorially portray that as a victory for the woman or the child ???
    (*Comment edited by the moderating team)

    • Cameron Paterson says:

      Paul – please take another look at our moderation policy here, in particular the second bullet point.
      Our report simply reflects the original judgement and the conclusions reached by the Judge, which of course you are free to disagree with. We don’t know the nature of the child’s relationship with her father and the ruling does in fact refer to the father in this particular case having contact

  2. Paul says:

    This woman has moved to England to get child away from her father. Bet now the man is going to be ruthlessly persued by the child support agency asking him to ‘live upto his responsabilitys’ this is a disgusting game. State fascism.

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