(Court of Appeal; Thorpe and Smith LJJ, 8 March 2006)
Having refused the mother leave to remove the 10-year old child permanently to Turkey, the judge went on to refuse the mother's alternative application for leave to send the child on a 2-week holiday to relatives in Slovakia. The child had visited Slovakia many times before, but never alone; the child did not speak the language, and the visit involved a change of plane. The father was not opposed to the visit if the mother went too, but did not wish the child to travel and visit alone.
The judge had been wrong to criticise the mother for the recent issue of the application; there was an obvious costs saving in bringing the contingent issue to the judge at the same time as the primary issue. The judge had failed to take into account any of the positive elements of the proposed trip, considering only the negatives, and had particularly failed to consider the child's likely view of the visit. The Court of Appeal granted the consent sought by the mother, but only for a deferred trip, one year later than planned, by which time the child would be over 11 years old and better able to cope with the anxieties of an unaccompanied flight. Submissions had been made on the basis that judicial consent was needed if the primary carer wished to send the child alone or with others for a holiday, but this interesting point of law had not been explored by the courts.