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Louisa Gothard
Louisa Gothard
Senior Solicitor, Head of Family Law
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ABDUCTION: Re H (Abduction: Non-Convention Application) [2006] EWHC 199 (Fam)
Date:6 FEB 2006

(Family Division; Bracewell J; 6 February 2006)

The Dominican court had awarded custody of the children to the father. The children were later removed from Dominica, the country of habitual residence, by the mother and brought to England. The father sought the summary return of the children, although not under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction 1980 as Dominica was not a signatory. The children reported significant use of corporal punishment at the father's hands and his approval of corporal punishment by others, including teachers. The details were not disputed by the father.

Corporal punishment was lawful in Dominica and, according to the Human Rights Treaty body, widely used. It was plainly acceptable within Dominica to treat a child with physical violence. The children could not be protected by the Dominican courts if returned. The welfare considerations fell firmly down against returning the children and the father's application was dismissed.