C (A Child) (Abduction: Article 13(b))  EWCA Civ 1354
18th September 2021
Judgment: The father appealed against the dismissal of his application under the 1980 Hague Convention for the summary return of his eight-year-old daughter to Poland. The judge had determined that there was a grave risk that returning her to Poland would expose her to physical or psychological harm. The father argued that the judge had failed to apply the correct legal principles; wrongly made or purported to make findings of fact; wrongly determined that the Polish authorities would not be able to protect the child following a return to Poland; and made a flawed decision in respect of her objections to a return. Moylan LJ found that there had been no analysis in the judgment of the child's circumstances were she to return to Poland nor of why or whether those circumstances would potentially expose her to a grave risk of harm, as required by Article 13(b). The sole focus in that section of the judgment had been on the allegations about past events. He concluded that the appeal had to be allowed. It would have been preferable, he said, if the court had been able to determine the application, but it was not in a position to undertake the broad analysis required, in particular in respect of how the discretion to make a return order should be exercised in the light of the judge's conclusion that the child objected to returning. Newey LJ and Sir Andrew McFarlane, President of the Family Division, agreed. The appeal was allowed and the matter was remitted to be reheard, as soon as could be arranged.