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England and Wales Court of Appeal (Civil Division) Decisions
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Cite as:  Fam Law 787,  2 FLR 1165,  EWCA Civ 520
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COURT OF APPEAL (CIVIL DIVISION)
ON APPEAL FROM THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE, FAMILY DIVISION
MRS JUSTICE BLACK
LOWER COURT NO: FD09P02690
Strand, London, WC2A 2LL
B e f o r e :
LORD JUSTICE WILSON
|Re W (MINORS)|
Miss Annmarie Harris (instructed by Slater Bradley & Co, Putney) appeared for the Respondent mother.
Mr Henry Setright QC and Mr Richard Harrison (instructed by Dawson Cornwell, Holborn) appeared on behalf of REUNITE, the proposed Intervener.
Hearing date: 14 April 2010
Crown Copyright ©
Lord Justice Wilson:
(a) (i) found that the two older children each objected to being returned to Ireland;(ii) found that each of them had attained an age and degree of maturity at which it was appropriate to take account of their views; and(iii) held that the resultant discretion whether nevertheless to order them to return to Ireland should be exercised against ordering them to do so;
(b) (i) found that, were the youngest child to be ordered to return to Ireland in circumstances in which the two older children were not to be ordered to return there and therefore also in circumstances in which the mother might reasonably decide not to return there, there was a grave risk that his return would expose him to psychological harm or otherwise place him in an intolerable situation; and(ii) held that the resultant discretion whether nevertheless to order him to return to Ireland should be exercised against ordering him to do so.
(a) Their level of maturity was commensurate with their ages.
(b) They told her that the father had physically chastised them and that they were scared of him, did not like him and did not want to have contact with him.
(c) G spoke vividly of being required by the father to look at blood in his vomit.
(d) Both of them spoke of an incident in which a brick had been thrown through a window of the home in Ireland and which had very much upset them.
(e) They said that they loved the mother, their home and school in London.
(f) They categorically indicated that they did not want to return to Ireland.
(g) Such constituted an objection to returning to Ireland, not just a preference for remaining in England.
(h) Although they found it difficult to distinguish between the return of the family to Ireland and its return to life with the father, the children did manage to do so in that, with reluctance, they said that, were they to return to Ireland, it should be to an address far away from the father and unknown to him.
(i) When warned at the end of the interview that, despite their views, a judge might order them to return to Ireland, D became very agitated and uncomfortable and tears welled up in G's eyes.
Lord Justice Sedley: