Rights of Access – Art. 21
The mother used this provision to enable her to obtain legal aid in Quebec, as that province’s Central Authority is bound to assist a parent applying for enforcement of a judgment relating to custody or rights of access delivered in another jurisdiction in a situation involving two countries bound by the 1980 Convention.
The Court added that nonetheless, the case then had to “[run] its course in accordance with the Civil Code” of Quebec: it was necessary to determine whether it was in the children’s interest for the lower court to compel them to return to France to live visiting periods with their mother.
Drawing the consequences of the children’s testimony that they had had almost no contacts with their mother for years and did not wish to be forced to resume relations with her, the Court considered that it was not in their interest to be forced to visit their mother, and the mother had failed to provide any proof whatsoever that the father had alienated the children.
The Court accordingly ordered maintenance of the “rights of access between the mother and children, subject to their exercise according to the children’s wishes after agreement with the mother”.
Author of the summary: Aude Fiorini, United Kingdom