(Family Division; Black J; 24 October 2008)
The Lithuanian parents separated and divorced; the mother travelled to England to obtain work. The child travelled to England to spend a summer holiday with the mother, but refused to return to Lithuania with the father as agreed. The father issued proceedings under the Hague Convention. The child, now 11 years old, expressed a strong objection to returning to Lithuania because of the ill treatment she alleged she had received at the hands of the father and stepmother, and because of her wish to live with the mother. The mother had indicated that if the child were ordered to return to Lithuania, she would return temporarily to look after her. The father had undertaken not to seek contact with the child other than by agreement.
The child was to be returned to Lithuania. As a normal competent and self-assured 11 year old, the child had reached a level of maturity at which it was appropriate to take account of her views. However, the reality of the objection was to a return to father's care, not to a return to Lithuania.