Saiful Islam successfully represented Applicant father in reported case in post-Brexit international child abduction - Non-Hague - wrongful removal - habitual residence


17th September 2021

Saiful Islam  successfully represented Applicant father in reported case in post-Brexit international child abduction - Non-Hague - wrongful removal - habitual residence  

MZ v RZ [2021] EWHC 2490 (Fam)

This case concerned the wrongful removal of a child, M from England to India by the mother in March 2019 when M was only 6 months old. The mother left M in the care of the maternal grandparents in India before returning to England. The mother is Indian but in January 2021 was granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK. The father is Bangladeshi and at the time of the hearing had limited leave to remain in the UK.

Two years later on 7 April 2021, the father applied under the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court seeking M’s return to England. The mother contested jurisdiction on the basis that M is now settled in India having acquired a new habitual residence there. The issue before the Court was whether the Court has jurisdiction and whether the father’s delay in issuing his application was fatal.

The Court noted that India is not a signatory to the Hague Conventions of 1980 or 1996. It was held that the Court has jurisdiction because as at the date of the application, namely on 7 April 2021, M remained habitually resident in England and Wales and that M has not acquired a new habitual residence in India. Having decided that the Court has jurisdiction, the issue of the father’s delay in applying was one of the factors relevant to welfare.   

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