(Family Division; Parker J; 10 March 2011)
The Polish mother and American father met and married in New York then moved to Poland where their children were born. They then moved to England where the mother, father and mother's elder child by different relationship were all arrested on suspicion of murder. The children were placed in local authority care. The father was released without charge but the mother was subsequently convicted and sentenced to a minimum of 20 years imprisonment and was appealing. The father removed the children to the USA, the mother said without her consent and made an application under the Hague Convention. At issue was the jurisdiction of the English Court.
The English Court had jurisdiction under FLA 1986 in relation to two children taken to the USA by their father three years earlier. The children were habitually resident when the mother's application was made. Habitual residence could not be changed unilaterally. Even if the children's habitual residence had now changed, the English court still had jurisdiction.