IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE - FAMILY DIVISION
The children I am concerned with are AG a girl born on 30th November 2004 who is approaching her 10th birthday, and SG, a girl born on 21st March 2007 who is now 7.
Their mother the Applicant is NG represented by Miss Renton and their father is OG, represented by Miss Gillman.
The mother applies for the registration and enforcement of the custody order in relation to SG declared by the Russian Court in Moscow on 2nd April 2014 to take effect on 7th May 2014. She brings that application pursuant to the 1996 Hague Convention on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Co-operation in Respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children, and requests the summary return of SG, though not of AG.
She applied in this court on 5th November 2014 for contact to both girls. That issue, pending the determination of the application for SG's return has been transferred to the Central Family Court for a FHDRA hearing, and interim arrangements have been agreed between the parties on the basis that neither of them will seek to involve either child in discussions about this unfortunate case.
I heard the matter on 10th November 2014, when I heard submissions and also allowed the evidence of the CAFCASS Officer Ms Sivills. I was concerned that no interpreter was available for the mother but she was assisted by her father who is a good English speaker and as she did not seek to adjourn: she had the representation of experienced Counsel I proceeded to hear the matter. I hand down this reserved judgment on 9th December 2014.
A preliminary issue arose as to the need for the separate representation of the children in circumstances where the mother's proposed solution to the case would potentially result in these two sisters who have always lived together being permanently cared for apart in two different countries. I shall deal with that below.