(Court of Appeal, Thorpe, Longmore, McCombe LJJ, 23 January 2013)
The mother had failed to return the child to the UK following a trip to her home country of Mexico and failed to comply with a return order issued under the Hague Convention. In addition to the return order, the child was also made a ward of court. When the mother and child were located the parents entered into an agreement via mediation whereby the child would remain in Mexico with the mother but have generous contact with the father. When the child travelled to the UK for contact the father reneged on the agreement and sought to rely on the wardship order. The mother's application for summary return was refused.
The mother's appeal was dismissed. It was plainly not established that the child had been habitually resident in Mexico when the parents travelled to the UK for contact. The judge had not been wrong to uphold the Art 13(b) defence and the usual safeguards would be inadequate to prevent a further disappearance.