(Family Division, Roderic Wood J, 6 August 2012)
The two children, now aged 9 and 6, were made subject to a shared residence and the mother was granted permission to relocate to Ireland. Provision was made for the father to have contact with the children during school holidays but when the father's behaviour at handovers became critical of the mother and her family the mother ceased to permit contact. The father brought enforcement proceedings and submitted that the children should relocate to live with him in England. However, as a preliminary issue the court was asked to determine which jurisdiction would be more appropriate to deal with the matter.
It was now accepted by all parties that the children were habitually resident in Ireland not England and Wales. The mother had a new partner with whom she had one child and was pregnant again. The child's lives were enmeshed in Ireland.
Pursuant to Art 8 of Brussels II Revised general jurisdiction in relation to matters of parental responsibility lay with the Member State in which the child was habitually resident. However, by virtue of Art 12 the children retained a substantial connection with England and Wales and the jurisdiction had already been accepted by the mother.
Given that the history of litigation was in this jurisdiction, that due to concessions made during the hearing, it now appeared that the issue was a narrow one, namely the reinstatement of the previous contact arrangements, and that the same judge and Cafcass officer would be able to hear the case, it was appropriate for the case to remain within the jurisdiction of England and Wales.