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Louisa Gothard
Louisa Gothard
Senior Solicitor, Head of Family Law
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VULNERABLE ADULT: Re HM; PM v KH and HM (By the Official Solicitor); States of Guernsey Interested Party [2010] EWHC 870 (Fam)
Date:13 MAY 2010

(Family Division; Munby LJ sitting as a judge of the Family Division; 30 April 2010)

The court ordered the placing of an adult in a residential home with contact to parents. The placement was terminated because of the father's behaviour. The court concluded that a new placement order with contact to parents was in the adult's best interests. While the order was being drafted the father retained the adult, then when the final version of the order was sent to the parties, the father removed the adult to Israel, in breach of the order. A series of court orders were made to ensure that the father returned with the adult. A Guernsey court was also invited to assist. Proceedings were initiated in Israel and Israeli authorities arranged for the adult to be placed in the mother's care. Shortly afterwards the authorities permitted the mother and the adult to return to England.

The judgment explains why the court is entitled to make certain orders intended to secure an adult's return, by analogy with jurisdiction in child cases, in particular the power of the court to order third parties to provide information and the court's powers to seize or block abducting parent's access to funds. The case also considered some general issue of ‘abduction' of vulnerable adults.