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International relocation, care arrangements and case taxonomy

Date:4 DEC 2012
Barrister and Lecturer

Dr Rob George

University College, University of Oxford:

The decision in Re F (Child: International Relocation) [2012] EWCA Civ 1364, [2013] 1 FLR (forthcoming) dismissing a father's appeal against a decision to allow the mother to take the child to Spain, raises questions about international relocation law. This article discusses the judgment, suggesting a number of concerning aspects. In particular, the respondent father had been recognised as the child's primary carer, which makes the view of both the trial judge and Munby LJ that the guidance from Payne v Payne [2001] EWCA Civ 166, [2001] 1 FLR 1052 should apply to the applicant mother's proposals questionable. The article argues that there is value in seeking to avoid any categorisation of relocation cases based on the child's care arrangements. However, if the law is to reach that position, the authorities establishing the current taxonomy need to be addressed head on; and if there is to be a single approach, then it is unlikely that the Payne guidance can be the starting point, premised as it is on the applicant parent's status as the primary carer.

The full version of this article appears in the December 2012 issue of Family Law.