G’s English mother met G’s father in Corfu in 2005. Shortly after they met, the mother moved to Corfu to be with G’s father, where they later married in May 2007. G was born in August 2007. In January 2008, the mother and the father separated, with the father remaining in Corfu and the mother and G moving back to England to live in G’s aunt’s house. G’s parents then divorced in 2014.
Following the death of G’s mother in February 2016, the two sides of the family were unable to come to an agreement about where G should live. G’s father wanted G to move back to Corfu with him and his extended family, whereas G’s aunt wanted her to remain with her in England.
In May 2016, the judge dismissed the aunt’s application for a child arrangement order for G to live with her in England and for a prohibited steps order to stop G going to Corfu with her father. The judge came to the decision that it was in G’s best interests to go and live with her father in Corfu. There was no child arrangements order necessary, because G’s father now had sole parental responsibility.
The father’s counsel made a submission that there was no jurisdiction to make a contact order in respect of G, who would be living in Corfu. The judge accepted this.
In July 2016, G’s aunt filed an Appellant’s Notice and Grounds of Appeal saying that:
“The learned judge was wrong in law to determine that, having decided that the child should live with her father in Greece, he had no jurisdiction to make any order regulating the time she should thereafter spend with the appellant.”
In the meantime, the father and G moved to Corfu, where they now live together. The father and the aunt reached an informal agreement that G would remain in Corfu but would still have contact with the aunt and her maternal family.
The aunt’s legal team submitted that the error of law regarding the judge’s lack of jurisdiction should be corrected, so that if proceedings ever took place in Corfu, the courts would understand that the judge had misunderstood the law in the respect that he had no power to make a contact order.
The Court of Appeal did indeed conclude that the judge was wrong in coming to the conclusion that he couldn’t make a contact order in relation to G.
In the original case the judge, when deciding on the child arrangement order, hadn’t been aware of the provisions under Council Regulation (EC) No 2201/2003 (Brussels II revised), that sets out matters of jurisdiction and how judgements are enforced between member states when it comes to parental responsibility.
Reported case can be found by visiting this link.
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