Polish mother can take child home

family law

A child born in England to Polish parents can be taken by his mother to her home country, the Family Court has ruled.

The boy’s father had lived in this country for several years, specifically in the Blackburn area. He met the mother over the internet and last December she travelled to England. Their son was conceived very early in a relationship which was “characterised by aggression” and “had already completely broken down before the baby was born”.

Due to the nature of the parents’ interactions, the local authority was concerned for the safety of the child. When he was born both he and the mother were placed with a foster mother who provided “an excellent home and environment” for them both. The mother was also able to learn some parenting skills, the court heard.

As she was no longer romantically involved with the father, the mother claimed she had no ties to England whatsoever and was determined to return to Poland and to take her son with her. She spoke little English but managed to communicate her belief that she was legally or habitually resident in Poland.

Sitting at the Family Court in Preston, Mr Justice Holman set out the circumstances under which jurisdiction of a family case can be transferred from one European country to another. This falls under Article 15 of Brussels II Revised, an EU regulation designed to resolve international family law disputes between member states. Under Article 15, jurisdiction can be transferred if the child in question has a “particular connection” to the other country, if that nation’s courts would be better placed to rule on it and if a transfer would be in the child’s best interests.

The Judge said that these conditions had all been met and that “the future of this child should be in Poland” so there was no reason to prevent the mother taking him there. Article 15 gives judges the choice between directly asking the courts of another EU country to assume jurisdiction over a case or to simply stay proceedings and allow the other nation to take them up when they saw fit to do so. Mr Justice Holman elected to do the latter and decided to stay the English proceedings. This would only be lifted if there were “unforeseen difficulties or problems” before the mother could return home.

In February, the Family Court ruled on a similar case involving a Polish mother and her two year-old daughter born in England. Despite spending time here, this mother felt trapped and claimed she had experienced racist abuse. The Judge in that case declared that the two should be allowed to return to Poland.

Read Re Z (A Child) here.

Photo by PIVISO via Flickr under the Public Domain.

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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