A mother who removed two children to the UK without consent from their father has been ordered to return with them to Norway, the children’s country of birth and habitual residence.
The case was heard in the Supreme Court because of arguments concerning aspects of the Hague Convention, which requires a child to be returned forthwith if wrongly removed by one parent.
An English court had already decided that it was overwhelmingly in the children’s best interests to return to Norway for their futures to be decided there.
The Supreme Court confirmed this decision, despite arguments that the father’s behaviour put the mother and her children at risk of harm, which were denied by the father. These allegations will be investigated in the Norwegian court, and the father has given undertakings that he will vacate the family home, pay child support and not remove the children from the mother’s care.
The judgement states that the best interests of the children have two aspects: to be reunited with their parents as soon as possible so that one parent does not gain an unfair advantage over the other through passage of time; and to be brought up in a “sound environment” in which they are not at risk of harm.
It reasserts the Hague principle that abducted children should be returned as soon as possible, saying that where there are disputed allegations which can nether be tried or objectively be verified in the UK and sufficient protective measures are available in Norway, the exceptions to this obligation to return do not apply.0 likes