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Zahra Pabani
Zahra Pabani
Partner - Family Law
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ABDUCTION: MM v VM (Abduction)
Date:24 SEP 2007

(Thorpe, Longmore and Moore-Bick LJJ; Court of Appeal; 12 September 2007)

The father applied for summary return of the children to Zimbabwe. The court rejected the mother's defence of grave risk, concluding that this was a Zimbabwean case. The children had been born and raised in Zimbabwe, neither they nor their mother had any lawful right to remain in the UK and, although settlement had been established, the judge exercised his discretion for an immediate return.

The mother's appeal was dismissed. The judge had exercised his residual discretion without misdirection, had not attached weight to immaterial matters and had not disregarded to any degree the material matters. There were no circumstances in the instant case that amounted to a defence under Art 13(b) of the Hague Convention. The balance clearly tipped in favour of ordering the return of the children to Zimbabwe.