The application related to twins born in England in 2007 to parents of Cameroonian origin. In November 2008 the twins were sent to live in Cameroon. They were accompanied by the paternal grandmother, whilst the mother had accompanied the party to the airport.
The mother’s case was that sending the children abroad had been against her wishes. For the father it was submitted that the decision had been consensual and the result of financial necessity. In November 2008 the mother had sought guidance from a free legal advice centre because she was experiencing “matrimonial problems”. She did not seek advice as regards the children.
In the summer of 2009, after the birth of a third child, the marriage broke down and mother and son went to live in a refuge. There were disputed allegations of domestic violence. In June 2009 she contacted solicitors with regard to the twins. In the autumn of 2009 she was refused legal aid and advised that she would have to pursue a remedy in Cameroon.
On 10 November 2009 the mother commenced County Court proceedings in respect of her son, in which she alleged that the father had abducted the twins. Proceedings in wardship in respect of the twins were not commenced until 21 April 2010.