(Court of Appeal, Underhill, King LJJ, 1 November 2016)
Private law children – Relocation – Permission to relocate to Moscow – Appeal
The father’s appeal from a decision permitting the mother and children to relocate to Moscow was dismissed.
The parents of the two children, now aged 10 and 12, met in Moscow before relocating to the UK. They separated in 2011 and since then they had been engaged in extensive litigation regarding the living arrangements of the children.
The mother sought to move to Moscow with the children due to an offer of employment there and an opportunity to relocate the business she was running with her new husband. Her application was allowed. The husband appealed.
The appeal was dismissed. The judge had referred to earlier case law including the authority of Payne v Payne  EWCA Civ 166 but that did not lead to his judgment being tainted by the previous confusion surrounding that line of authorities. He had specifically referred to the fact that the only determining factor in his decision was the children’s welfare and he had accordingly analysed the factors pertaining to that.
The Court of Appeal applied the criteria set out in Re F (Relocation)  EWCA Civ 1364 and found that the judgment was adequate in terms of enabling the parties to understand why the decision was reached and provided sufficient detail to enable the CA to determine whether it was sustainable.
The judge’s approach to the mother’s reasons for relocating had been beyond reproach. He found correctly that there was no requirement for the mother to demonstrate economic necessity in order to succeed in her application and that to do so would place the type of additional gloss on the test to be applied that had been expressly rejected in K v K (Relocation) (Shared Care Arrangement)  EWCA Civ 793. The judge had been entitled to conclude that the mother should be permitted to pursue career opportunities overseas if that was consistent with the children’s welfare needs which included maintaining their relationship with the father.