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Date:11 NOV 2009

(Family Division; Ryder J; 22 October 2009)

The autonomous European Community interpretation of habitual residence, unlike the domestic interpretation, did not accord determinative significance to the length of time a person spent in or out of a country, whether initially to acquire or to lose habitual residence.

The focus was on centre of interests, and all relevant factors had to be taken into account, including both intention and objective connecting factors. A centre of interests could be established quickly or slowly, depending on the circumstances. There was no requirement that the centre of interests must be permanent, it need only be habitual; however, it must have a stable character.

Because intention formed part of the court's overall assessment, a time-limited residence that otherwise satisfied all the character of a centre of interests with a stable character was not automatically established if the parties intended that their stay be temporary, however, each case must be decided on its facts.