Macready c. R?publique tch?que (Requ?tes Nos 4824/06 et 15512/07)

INCADAT legal file Hague parental abduction

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The case concerned a child born in the United States of America in December 2002. In early 2004, the father petitioned for divorce. A Court ruled on a provisional basis and awarded joint custody of the child, who was to share his time between his mother and father, and enjoined the mother from leaving the jurisdiction.
Some time later, the father learnt that the mother had taken the child to the Czech Republic. In June 2004, the mother initiated custody proceedings in the Czech Republic. When the Court was informed of the unlawfulness of the removal and the return application made by the father (in October 2004), those proceedings were held in abeyance until 2007.
On 27 April 2005, the Court ordered the child’s return. The mother appealed. She asserted in particular that the child probably suffered from autism, so that the Regional Court asked for an expert opinion. On 29 June 2006, the Regional Court reversed the April 2005 judgment on the grounds that while the removal was wrongful, return should not be ordered because it would cause the child irreparable mental disturbance that could worsen his already fragile condition.
In February 2007, the Supreme Court dismissed the father’s appeal. The father appealed to the Constitutional Court, which dismissed his appeal.
The father attempted to see the child several times between October 2004 and 2006. Every time, he obtained temporary measures permitting him to see the child, but the mother impeded them on many occasions. The father claimed indemnification against the Ministry of Justice in respect of the courts’ improper conduct in the proceedings relating to the child’s return and exercise of rights of access. His claim was dismissed. He applied to the European Court of Human Rights.