A v A (Return Without Taking Parent)  EWHC 1439 (Fam)
3rd July 2021
Judgment: The mother and one-year-old son were currently in the jurisdiction of England and Wales. The father applied for the son's summary return to the Republic of Ireland. The mother conceded that the son had been habitually resident in the Republic of Ireland; that the father had rights of custody which he had been exercising; that she had unlawfully removed the child without the consent of the father; and that the provisions of Article 12 of the 1980 Hague Convention applied, subject to whether she was able to establish a case within the ambit of Article 13(b). As to this, she made extensive complaints regarding the conduct of the father and his family during the course of their short marriage, alleging physical and emotional abuse, and that her life would be at risk if she were to return to the Republic of Ireland. The key question for the court, said MacDonald J, was what the situation would be for the child if he were to be returned forthwith to his country of habitual residence without his mother. He concluded that in this case the mother had not satisfied the court that the separation of the son from her care and placement in his father's care would expose him to a grave risk of physical or psychological harm or otherwise place him in an intolerable situation for the purposes of Art 13(b). The mother's allegations were not irrelevant, but there was no evidence that the child had ever come to harm in either of his parents' care. The court had confidence that the welfare authorities in the Republic of Ireland would take steps to safeguard the child should it be necessary to do so. In the circumstances, a return order had to be made.