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Child Abduction: is risk of contracting COVID-19 an Art 13 (b) defence to Child Abduction?

Date:15 APR 2020
Managing Partner


In Re PT (A Child) [2020] EWHC 834 (Fam) David Rees QC sitting as a Deputy Judge of the High Court ordered the summary return of a child to the jurisdiction of Spain.  The judgement is dated 31st of March 2020.  The hearing took place on 27 March 2020 by remote facilities using Microsoft Teams platform.

This case is thought to be the first no doubt of many where Covid-19 is used as a justification in law.  Apart from aspects not relevant for this article the mother relied on Art 13b 1980 Hague Convention.  She said there was a risk to the child of physical harm due to the COVID-19 pandemic in that the death toll in Spain is one of the highest in Europe.  The outcome of this case may be surprising to some when most of Europe is on ‘lockdown’ but it shows what a high threshold has to be met to secure a defense to child abduction/wrongful retention.

The case has an international importance.  Just as many family courts around the world are following decisions taken about when contact...

Read the full article here.