(Court of Appeal; Thorpe, Gage and Wall LJJ; 10 May 2007)
The judge had been entitled to conclude that the mother had established the Art 13(b) defence of grave risk to the children of physical or psychological harm, notwithstanding the very high hurdle that faced anyone relying upon such a defence. The judge had considered that the case was most exceptional, relying upon the extraordinarily strong evidence of the CAFCASS officer, which included evidence that one of the children had suffered panic attacks while discussing the possibility of returning to Greece. In international family law cases, particularly those under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction 1980 or the Brussels II Revised Regulation, to which a 6 week time limit applied, judges of the Family Division should, as a matter of routine, establish whether either party wished to appeal and, if refusing or granting permission to appeal, make a very clear direction abbreviating the over-generous period of 21 days granted by the rules for lodging the notice of appeal. Judges in the county court should also have regard to the importance of establishing at the conclusion of judgment whether a permission application was advanced, and make appropriate directions to see that the inception of the appeal was achieved within the shortest possible time.