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Supreme Court to hand down judgment in Hague Convention case on 15th January

LC (Children) will consider children’s views as to habitual residence and status as a party

The Supreme Court will give judgment in LC (Children) (No 2) on Wednesday, 15th January 2014.

The Court will determine (i) whether, and if so to what extent, children's views are relevant in the evaluation of their habitual residence, and (ii) when should a court join a subject child as a party to Hague Convention proceedings.

The case concerns the alleged wrongful retention of four children: T aged 13, L aged 10, A aged 8 and N aged 4 ("the Children"). Their father is British, living in England. Their mother is Spanish, now living in Spain. The parent's relationship ended in early 2012, soon after which mother took the Children from this jurisdiction to Spain to start a new life, without father's consent. The Children came back to England for a holiday at Christmas 2012 and did not return to Spain. Mother applied for the return of the Children to Spain, pursuant to the Hague Convention 1980. Father resisted the application. The High Court ordered the Children be returned to Spain.

Father and T, L & A appealed to the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal allowed the appeal on a single ground, finding that T, the eldest child, should stay in England and remitted back to the High Court the question whether it would be intolerable under Article 13b of the Hague convention to separate L, A and N from T. The trial judge's decisions on habitual residence and in respect of L and A's non-objections were upheld at the Court of Appeal.

The Court of Appeal judgment has been reported as LC (Children) [2013] EWCA Civ 1058 and is available here.

Father now seeks permission to appeal in respect of the Court of Appeal's decision on habitual residence and child's objections. T appeals on habitual residence and on the point that T should have been separately represented at the trial before Cobb J.

An article analysing the judgment, written by Katy Chokowry, 1 King's Bench Walk, will be published shortly after the judgment.