Court of Appeal, Black, Floyd LJJ and Baker J, 20 October 2016
Abduction – Internal relocation – Re C (Internal Relocation)  EWCA Civ 1305 – Whether as a general principle children relocated within England and Wales should be summarily returned
The father’s appeal from a decision refusing to order the child’s return to the family home in Kent was refused.
When the parents of the one-year-old child separated the mother took the child from the family home in Kent and relocated to the North East. She initiated proceedings in relation to the child there.
The father characterised the relocation as abduction and sought the child’s return to Kent. He argued that following the decision in Re C (Internal Relocation)  EWCA Civ 1305, the court should take the same approach to the case as would be taken where a child was unilaterally removed abroad, restoring the status quo by returning the child home forthwith and allowing the court in Kent to determine the issues between the parties. The application was refused and a first appeal from that decision was dismissed.
The appeal was dismissed.
The court was clear that Re C did not represent a sea change in the law which dictated a new approach to cases where one parent unilaterally moved a child from their home to another place in England and Wales. It was not accepted that there was or should be a general principle that summary return to the place where the child was formerly resident should follow upon such a move unless there were good welfare reasons why that should not happen.
The judge below did not err in his approach and he applied the correct principles. He made welfare the paramount consideration and applied the welfare checklist. He had a delicate decision to make and it had not been established that he erred in his consideration of the factors relevant to it.