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US Supreme Court hears Hague Convention case

Court determines whether ne exeat rights are 'rights of custody'

The US Supreme Court has been hearing the case of Abbott v Abbott which involves an American child taken from his home in Chile to Texas by his American mother without the father’s consent. The Chilean family court had granted a ne exeat right in respect of the child’s removal from Chile. In the Texas Federal District Court, the father, a British citizen, instituted proceedings under the Hague Convention seeking the return of the child to Chile. The application failed.

The father, following an unsuccessful appeal, applied to the US Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari. The court now has to decide whether a ne exeat right amounts to a ‘right of custody’ for the purposes of article 3 of the Hague Convention 1980.

An Amicus Curiae brief has been filed by Henry Setright QC, Marcus Scott Manderson QC, Dr Marilyn Freeman and Jacqueline Renton, all of 4 Paper Buildings, on behalf of Reunite which supports neither party in the proceedings.