Vigreux v. Michel [2006] EWCA Civ 630

INCADAT legal file Hague parental abduction

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The child, a boy, was removed from France to England on 14 August 2005, the day of his 14th birthday. The parents, who were not married, were separated.
In January 2002 a French court had made an order for joint parental responsibility with the mother having residence, the father contact. The father appealed this order, but he relocated to England in October 2003 prior to the hearing and the appeal was dismissed. Subsequently he had intermittent contact with the child.
In 2005 father and son jointly issued an application for the variation of the 2002 order, however, prior to the hearing they went to England. The mother contacted the French central authority in August and her return application was issued in the Family Division of the High Court on 23 September. On 7 December the Cour d’Appel at Versailles granted the mother sole parental authority.
Due to various delays the Convention application did not come to trial until February 2006. On 15 February 2006 the High Court found that the child objected to a return and that he was of sufficient age and maturity for his views to be taken into account. The trial judge then exercised his discretion not to order the return of the boy.
On 4 April 2006 the mother was granted leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal. Meanwhile, on 13 April 2006, pursuant to the Brussels II Regulation, the non-return order was forwarded to the French Central Authority.