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Supreme Court hearing begins in E (Children)

Court to decide the correct approach to Article 13(b) of the Hague Convention

On the 23rd and 24th May the Supreme Court will hear an appeal from the Court of Appeal in E (Children). The case raises issues as to the correct approach to the Article 13(b) exception to the duty to return under the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. It will also consider the duty under the Human Rights Act 1998 to follow decisions of the European courts. It also raises questions as to the meaning of Article 3.1 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The father in the case is Norwegian, the mother British. The two subject children were born in May 2004 and April 2007. The mother has a daughter from a previous relationship, who was joined as a party in the High Court. In September 2010, unbeknown to the father, the mother and subject children left Norway and travelled to England. Later that same month, the father made his application to the Central Authority in Norway for the children to be returned. In November 2010, Pauffley J granted the father's application for a return order.

The appeal will be heard by Lord Hope of Craighead, Lord Walker of Gestingthorpe, Lady Hale of Richmond, Lord Kerr of Tonaghmore and Sir Nicholas Wilson.

The Appellant mother is represented by Mr Henry Setright QC and Mr David Williams and Messrs. Freemans Solicitors; the First Respondent father is represented by Mr James Turner QC and Mr Ian Cook and Messrs. TLT LLP; and the Second Respondent half sibling is represented by Baroness Scotland QC and Mr Edward Devereux and Messrs. Dawson Cornwell.

The AIRE Centre, represented by Deirdre Fottrell, Reunite International, represented by Richard Harrison, and Women's Aid Federation of England, represented by Steven Knapfler QC and Teertha Gupta, have intervened in the proceedings.