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Supreme Court to rule on applicability of art 15 of Brussels IIa to care proceedings

Court considers assessment of children’s best interests on applications for transfer of proceedings

The Supreme Court will deliver its judgment next week in Re N (Children).

The case concerns the applicability of Article 15 of Brussels IIa to applications for care orders and the proper approach to the assessment of the children's best interests on applications for transfer of the proceedings.

In this case, the local authority applied for care and placement orders in relation to two children, both of whom had been born in England to Hungarian parents. The children were living together with foster parents in England. The local authority's final care plan was for the children to be adopted in England, without the consent of the parents. The mother applied for the transfer of the care proceedings to Hungary pursuant to Article 15 Brussels IIa. Her application was supported by the father and the Hungarian Central Authority, which indicated that social care professionals would collect the children from England and place them in a new foster home in Hungary. The judge made an order for the transfer of the proceedings to Hungary.

The Court of Appeal held that the English court does have jurisdiction to make an adoption order in relation to a child who is a foreign national without the consent of his parent, but that care proceedings were within the scope of Brussels IIa and the judge had been justified in making the order for transfer. The Children's Guardian appealed to the Supreme Court.

The AIRE Centre, Family Rights Group and The International Centre for Family Law, Policy and Practice have intervened in the Supreme Court proceedings.

The Supreme Court, comprising Lord Neuberger, Lady Hale, Lord Kerr, Lord Wilson and Lord Carnwath, will hand down judgment on Wednesday, 13th April 2016.