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Re B [2015] EWCA Civ 886: Court of Appeal decision on habitual residence and inherent jurisdiction

Jemma Dally has successfully represented a Respondent mother in the Court of Appeal.

The appeal was brought by the Respondent’s ex-partner who had applied for contact and the return of the child from Pakistan.  The child was conceived by IVF, her father is an unknown donor.

The case turned on two questions:

  1. Had the child lost her habitual residence in England when she left for Pakistan?
  2. Was the High Court’s decision to refuse to exercise the court’s inherent jurisdiction was the correct one?

The Court of Appeal determined that:

“…she [the Judge] applied the proper principles to the relevant facts and there is no reason to interfere with her finding that P lost her habitual residence here when she left for Pakistan.”

In respect of the question of inherent jurisdiction:

“The situation falls short of the exceptional gravity where it might indeed be necessary to consider the exercise of the inherent jurisdiction.”

The judgment is an important one for practitioners working in the field of international family law.

Read the judgment here.

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