(Court of Appeal; Thorpe and Hallett LJJ, Sir Mark Potter; 2 December 2011)
Custody of three children aged 15, 13 and 10 was granted to father with contact with the mother. The mother moved to UK and applied for variation of contact order to allow the children holidays in the UK. The mother failed to return the children and applied for their relocation to UK. The father made a Hague Convention application. The children and family reporter advised against joining the children as parties and found the children objected to a return to Poland. At the hearing the mother indicated that she would return to Poland if the children's return were ordered, which had not previously been her case. Judge ordered return. Children instructed own solicitor and applied for leave to intervene and appeal. The mother also appealed.
The judge had erred in not following recent guidance by at least by not meeting with the children face to face to hear their objections and explain the purpose of a return order. Allowed the appeal and remitted the case for rehearing.