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ABDUCTION: Re L (Abduction: Consent)

Date:4 SEP 2007

(Family Division; Bodey J; 4 September 2007)

There was no reason in principle why consent to removal of children from the jurisdiction should not be valid if tied to some future event, even of uncertain timing, provided that the happening of the future event was reasonably ascertainable; it must not be too vague, uncertain or subjective. However, if the consent had been given at a time when the facts were wholly and manifestly different from those prevailing at the time of removal, or given so long before the removal that the consent must have lapsed, or if the consent had been withdrawn before the removal, then the defence of consent would not have been made out. In the instant case, after the consent to a permanent relocation had been given but before the mother had left with the children there had been further discussions of the proposed departure in the context of a holiday; return tickets had been purchased. The notion of a holiday was consistent only with a return to the former home, and the consent to a holiday had replaced or modified the more generous relocation permission given previously.