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IN RE S (A CHILD) (ABDUCTION: CUSTODY RIGHTS)

International child abduction: mother’s anxiety at prospect of returning with young child to violence in Israel: whether giving rise to defence to claim of wrongful abduction
Appeal from Hogg J

6 September 2002

In 1995 the mother left England to live in Israel. She married a resident of Israel and their daughter was born in 2000. The marriage broke down and the mother, suffering health problems because of escalating violence in Israel, took the child and returned to the United Kingdom. The father, relying on the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of Child Abduction, scheduled to the Child Abduction and Custody Act 1985, requested the child’s return. The judge dismissed the mother’s case under art 13(b) of the Convention that there was a grave risk of harm to the child in Israel, the situation there being intolerable, and ordered her return forthwith. The mother appealed. WARD LJ, giving the reserved judgment of the court, said that the defence to child abduction in art 13(b) of the Hague Convention, although as a matter of law available to the mother, had to be narrowly construed. Even though to return the child might seem contrary to her welfare, the decision of the judge would no...

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