The Court of Appeal has ordered that two young children who were brought to Ireland by their mother without their father’s consent should be returned to their home jurisdiction.
t upheld an earlier High Court ruling ordering the children’s repatriation to England, dismissing the mother’s claim that they would be at risk if they had to return to their home country.
The parties, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, are all British citizens and England has been the children’s home since birth.
The children, a girl and a boy, both under the age of 10, were brought to Ireland by their mother a few months ago.
Her father sought a Supreme Court order requiring the children to be returned to England under the international treaty on “child abduction” known as the Hague Convention.
Both Ireland and the UK are signatories to the convention.
The children had been the subject of family law proceedings in England after their parents’ relationship ended.
The parents had agreed to an English court order granting them joint custody of the two children.
The children’s mother had opposed their return on the grounds, among other things, that the children would face serious harm if they had to return to England.
She claimed this was because her father had been drinking to excess on two occasions while in charge of her, which she reported to police.
She also claimed that the children did not want to return to England.
In a judgment earlier this year, Judge Mary Rose Gearty found the children had been wrongly removed from England.
The court did not have sufficient evidence to determine that they would be at “serious risk” or put in an intolerable situation if they were returned, the judge said.
The judge said that before bringing the children to Ireland, when the issue of custody was being considered by the English courts, the mother had not raised any protection issues in relation to the father.
While the mother was specifically asked about this as part of the family law process, the judge said, she had raised no concerns, called her former partner a “good father” and the children were “happy in his company.”
The High Court had accepted that the children tended to remain in Ireland.
The girl’s views amounted to objecting to the return, while the boy’s views amounted to an expression of preference, the judge found.
Given the age and maturity of both children, the judge said the girl’s objections were not convincing enough to persuade the High Court that her objection should result in the children being allowed to remain in Ireland.
The High Court also rejected the mother’s claim that the English courts were unable to resolve issues she feared over custody of the children.
The High Court’s decision was appealed to the Court of Appeal by the mother.
While seeking legal aid in the High Court, the mother represented herself on appeal.
One of the reasons given was that the children would be placed with foster families upon their return or would have to fend for themselves in the care of a father whom she described as a drunk and drug addict.
The father, the mother said, mentally controlled them by using the children as “weapons” and threatened to kill her and her new partner if they were brought back to the UK.
She also claimed that the children were afraid of being around the father due to the high crime rate in the area of England where he lives.
She further claimed that she had no place to stay in the UK and that she was pregnant.
The father resisted the appeal and firmly denied the allegations against him, which he claimed were unfounded.
He also disagreed with the Statement of Appeal alleging allegations against him on the ground that no such claims had been brought before the High Court.
In a ruling published on Monday, the three-judge court, consisting of the President of the Court of Appeal, Mr Justice George Birmingham, Ms Justice Caroline Costello and Mr Justice Senan Allen, upheld the lower court’s decision that the children should be returned to England.
In her decision, Judge Costello said the High Court was right to find that the evidence provided by the mother to support her claim that the children would be at risk if returned “fell below the threshold that is required” for a court can refuse the father’s application.
The High Court had also correctly assessed and differentiated the evidence presented on the two children’s views on returning to England.
The boy’s views did not constitute an objection, while the girl’s views constituted a mild objection, the Court of Appeal ruled.
That High Court finding was supported by the evidence in court and should not be overturned on appeal, said Ms Justice Costello.
The High Court was also right to hold that any outstanding issues relating to child custody and welfare could be decided by the English courts, the Court of Appeal added.
In all circumstances, the court ruled that it dismissed the appeal and upheld the order for the children to return to Britain.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/courts/court-of-appeal-directs-two-young-children-brought-to-ireland-without-their-fathers-consent-be-returned-to-england-41898295.html Court of Appeal orders two young children brought to Ireland without their father’s consent to be returned to England