(Family Division, Sir James Munby P, 18 January 2017)
Contempt – Extradition – Wardship proceedings – Breach of orders for return – Whether the contempt had been criminal order civil
The mother’s application for the father’s extradition from Nigeria was dismissed.
The father of three children took his children to Nigeria without the mother’s consent. The mother brought High Court proceedings and a number of orders were made requiring the children to be returned to the jurisdiction. The father refused to comply and he and the children remained in Nigeria. The mother sought the father’s extradition on the basis that the contempts of court were criminal and not merely civil.The mother’s application was dismissed. The President summarised the core principles of contempt in wardship proceedings and held that throughout the proceedings no suggestion had been made that the consequence of breach of the orders could be criminal contempt. The father, therefore, had no warning that it might and the court could not now hold there had been a criminal contempt.