Duncan Lewis Solicitors successfully obtained a court order for a father, requiring the mother to bring their children back from Jordan to England.
The judge denied the mother's request to delay the decision, pointing out concerns about the children's move and emphasising that the UK, where the children usually lived, was the appropriate place to address their well-being.
The father, who has two children, sought assistance from the family team at Duncan Lewis Solicitors. They helped him start legal proceedings based on inherent jurisdiction, aiming to bring the children back home from Jordan, where the mother had taken them without his permission.
The first child (Y) lived with the parents in Dubai until 2015, when the mother moved to Jordan. The father moved to England in August 2015, the mother followed in mid-June 2016 and in 2017, the second child (C) was born here. Upon arrival to the UK, the family lived together in Surrey. Y started attending C’s school in September 2020.
On May 16, 2021, after a disagreement between the parents, the mother departed from the family residence with the children. Accompanied by her brother, she acknowledges taking her and the children's passports, explaining that it was her usual habit to carry them at all times. According to the mother, she and the children stayed in a hotel from May 16 to May 20, 2021.
On May 21, 2021, the mother reached out to Y's school and informed them that she and the children were self-isolating because of COVID-19 exposure. The next day, the mother and children travelled to Amman. The mother had bought return tickets, scheduled for September 2, 2021. It is important to mention that the mother did not return on the specified date and remained in Jordan with the children.
After their departure, the father attempted to contact the mother and her family, but was subsequently told to stop calling otherwise he might never see his children again. The mother denies this; she says she is the victim of domestic abuse, which is disputed by the father.
Commencement of Proceedings
The father reported the children missing to the police shortly after they left the United Kingdom. The police spoke to the mother's brother, who told them that the mother had taken the children to Jordan, suggesting the father had consented. The Father began proceedings seeking an order for the children’s return to this jurisdiction from Jordan.
The mother opposed the father’s application on the grounds (i) that the children were habitually resident in Jordan at the date when the father issued the application on 09.06.2021, and (ii) if their habitual residence was in this jurisdiction there should be a stay on these proceedings on the grounds that Jordan is a more convenient forum for the determination of welfare matters relating to the children.
The proceedings continued until 18th May 2022, where a hearing date had been set.
Despite the children being in Jordan for a long time, there were other factors that needed to be considered, in particular issues regarding their ongoing relationship with their father and his role in their future upbringing. Mrs. Justice Theis contended that the circumstances in which the children were removed without his apparent consent or knowledge should be factored in.
He judge concluded that the application for a stay by the mother should be refused, successfully granting an order for the children’s return to the UK on behalf of the father. Jordan is not the suitable jurisdiction to address the welfare matters concerning these children. Until recently, the UK was the jurisdiction where their family life was anchored. Both parents will have access to legal advice and any relevant evidence is more likely to be readily available here.
About the Instructing Solicitor
Adeeba Naseem is a highly esteemed lawyer and Director of Family and Childcare, recognised by her colleagues for her unwavering commitment to her clients and her fearlessness in taking on demanding legal cases. Her instrumental role in the success of Duncan Lewis Solicitors has been pivotal, contributing to the firm's remarkable growth and reputation in the legal industry.
The Family and Child Care department is ranked and recognised by The Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners for family and matrimonial work, providing confidential advice with effective representation. Our family team includes solicitors who have achieved the Law Society’s Children Law and Family Law Advanced accreditations providing advocacy in all court proceedings, ensuring our clients receive a consistent and professional service as well as a high degree of continuity.
For advice on Family and Childcare matters, contact Adeeba via email at AdeebaN@duncanlewis.com or via telephone on 07920077039.