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H v R (Habitual Residence in Pakistan) [2021] EWHC 2024 (Fam)

30th July 2021

Judgment: The court had two questions to consider. Was the 12-year-old son habitually resident in the jurisdiction of England and Wales? If so, should the court grant the mother's application for an order under its inherent jurisdiction requiring the son to be returned from the jurisdiction of Pakistan? The father contended that the son was now habitually resident in Pakistan, where he was attending a private school. A report from the Cafcass Family Court Adviser detailed the son's understanding of the circumstances by which he came to be in Pakistan, including that he and his parents had discussed him attending school in Pakistan prior to his mother taking him there in October 2020, and that he had understood he would be staying there for a significant period of time. MacDonald J decided that the boy had demonstrated a degree of integration in a social and family environment in Pakistan sufficient to ground the conclusion that he was habitually resident there. For example, the boy had settled into his new school and clearly saw that education as his gateway to personal success. Accordingly, this court did not have jurisdiction, and the mother's application was dismissed.