B. v. Secretary for Justice [2008] NZFLR 723

INCADAT legal file Hague parental abduction

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Procedural Matters
The judge noted that where a litigant sought to revisit a finding on the basis of new evidence this had to be done by way of appeal. In the present case this was not the mother’s object, she wished to challenge the implementation of the order on the ground that an 8 month delay was not in keeping with the principle of summary return. The judge further noted that in the light of the terms of the return order, which did not specify a date by which return was to be effected and was not subject to a further order provision, he did not have jurisdiction, express or implied, under New Zealand law to set aside the order made. It was noted that a statutory power to this effect existed in Australia: Family Law (Child Abduction Convention) Regulations 1986, Reg 19A. Turning to the facts the judge held that whilst the mother had done enough to be seen as compliant, she had not made matters easy for the father. But in such circumstances it was for the father to invoke the assistance of the Court by obtaining directions to enforce a prompt return. The mother’s attitude did not excuse delay. Having made these findings the judge affirmed that had he had the jurisdiction he would have set aside the return order; a delay of 8 months was extreme and in the light of the other delays in the case it meant that it would no longer be in the best interests of the child to go back.