(Court of Appeal, Black, Tomlinson LJJ, 5 October)
Private law children – Relocation – Appeal
The father’s appeal from the grant of permission for the mother to relocate with the child was dismissed.
The Irish mother and English father of the 10-year-old girl separated. The child continued to live with the mother in England and had contact with the father. The mother then applied to relocate permanently to Ireland with the child. The father opposed the application.
During the proceedings the mother made allegations that concerning incidents had occurred between the father and child where he had acted in an angry, violent or otherwise inappropriate manner towards her. The judge determined that the mother had not fabricated the allegations and that she had not encouraged the child to make them. Two of the allegations were found to be insufficiently evidenced and the third allegation was made out.
Applying the welfare checklist and considering the child’s genuine wish to go to Ireland as well as the mother’s ability to positively promote the relationship between the father and child, the mother was granted permission to relocate. The father appealed.The appeal was dismissed. There was nothing wrong in the judge’s approach to her determination of the truthfulness of the allegations. That the judge had given greater scrutiny to the mother’s proposals rather than to the existing arrangements did not mean that she had ignored the father’s proposals. She gave consideration to the contact plans following relocation and concluded that although contact would be different it would be just as effective and meaningful. The overall approach had been welfare based. It was not accepted that the judge had in any way failed to give full weight to the impact on the relationship between the father and child of the move or that she had been unduly optimistic about it.