James Dunn specialises in domestic and international family law matters with a primary focus on child abduction involving the Hague Convention as well as Non-Convention countries.
James also acted for the father in the successful first instance proceedings in the High Court: A and B (Children: Return Order: UAE)  EWHC 2120 (Fam)
What is child abduction and child relocation?
Child relocation is a complex and fast-evolving area of law, and the cases are often difficult and highly emotive. Consent is always needed from the parent, or anyone else holding Parental Responsibility, to relocate outside the jurisdiction of England & Wales.
Following the breakdown of a relationship, it is understandable that one of the separating parties may wish to return to their country of origin with the children. If this happens without the approval of the other parents, or court permission, this may be considered child abduction, which is a criminal offence.
There are different laws depending on which country this takes place in, though over 90 countries have signed up to the 1980 Hague Convention.
What is the Hague Convention?
The 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is a treaty between states that was set up to protect children who are subjected to situations of international child abduction. It aims to bring about the prompt return of children to the state where they lived prior to their wrongful removal or retention, so that the competent authorities in that state (i.e. courts) can make decisions in relation to matters of custody and/or access.
Accordingly, a Non-Convention case is where one of the states involved is not a signatory to the 1980 Hague Convention.
What happened in Re A and B (Children)?
An order for the children’s summary return to the UAE was granted at first instance, the Judge finding a return to be in the children’s best interests. The mother appealed to the Court of Appeal on a number of grounds, primarily that the Judge’s approach to disputed allegations of domestic abuse was wrong. James Dunn was successful in defending the appeal and upholding the High Court’s decision and the Judge’s welfare analysis.
The full judgment of the Court of Appeal can be read here.
And the first instance decision here.