Family analysis: In AH v CD and others  EWHC 1643 (Fam),  All ER (D) 162 (Jun) an application by a father who sought his son’s return to Spain, after the child was taken out of the jurisdiction by his mother, raised issues under the 1980 Hague Convention, and also as to the discharge of a care order made by a court which had not been told of the child’s father’s whereabouts. Richard Jones, barrister at 1 Garden Court Chambers, explains the issues.
What are the practical implications of this case?
This was a very unusual case which involved not only the interplay between the 1980 Hague Convention and enforcement under Council Regulation (EC) 2201/2003 (Brussels II bis), but also the issue of the discharge of a care order made by a court which had known nothing of the whereabouts of the biological father. The case reminds practitioners of the need for a ‘joined up’ or holistic evaluation of welfare, which includes all the applications and consideration of any siblings or half-siblings of the subject child as well.
Williams J made reference to the guidance of Mostyn J in abduction situations involving EU Member States (JRG v EB (Abduction: Brussels II Revised)
 EWHC 1863 (Fam),  1 FLR 203, ET v TZ (Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Residence Order)
 EWHC 2621 (Fam),  2 FLR 373), and drew attention to the need in this case for all relevant matters to be considered together.
The case is also useful for practitioners when they are faced with situations where consideration needs to be given to whether a non-subject child ought to be joined to the proceedings. Williams J commented that while he agreed with the decision to join the older child in the ‘unique circumstances of this case’, he exhorted practitioners to consider both the decision of Baker J in W v W (Abduction: Joinder as Party)
 EWHC 3288 (Fam),  1 FLR 1342, and of Munby P in S v B (Abduction: Human Rights)
 EWHC 733 (Fam),  2 FLR 878 when considering the issue.