Parental Abduction within the UK

Removal of a child within the UK is not a wrongful removal, unlike removal to another country

A parent proposing to move with a child from England to another area within the UK does not require the consent of anyone else with parental responsibility unless there is already a Child Arrangements Order in place that deals with the issue.

The question was dealt with by the Court of Appeal in the case of Re R (child) [2015] EWCA Civ C iv 1016. In this case the Mother had moved with the child from Kent to the north east of England and the Father applied for the child to be returned. It was argued in the Court of Appeal that removal to another part of the UK should be treated in the same way as removal to a foreign country. It was argued that there should be an Order for summary return in the same way as would be standard for a foreign abduction, and the presumption should be that the child should be returned to their place of habitual residence for the dispute to be determined there. The Court of Appeal rejected those arguments. It held that a unilateral move of this type will be normally subject to Children Act proceedings and the outcome decided by applying the welfare principle and the welfare checklist contained in the Act.

The same position applies for removal to any of the other legal jurisdictions within the United Kingdom e.g. Scotland and Northern Ireland.

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