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Hague Convention Proceedings to be Swift and Summary

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Alex Laing appeared before Mr. Justice Holman for a mother, on proceedings involving the Hague Convention for a summary return of two children to America. The judgment is cited as Letts v Letts [2018] EWHC 1639 (Fam).

A series of questions arose regarding certainty of the mother to leave to enter and re-enter America, with Mr. Laing raising the point that ultimately, customs officers at the port of entry have the discretion to refuse entry irrespective of any applications or stamps granted.

The matter had previously been adjourned pending the mother resolving her immigration status into America, however, bureaucratic issues continued to remain after a good faith trip on her part to New Jersey to do so. Holman J noted that Hague Convention proceedings are meant to be swift and summary in nature and that the court could not continue to expect that the mother would travel to and fro from America to gain further certainty of status. He, therefore, fixed the case for a one clear day hearing in order to resolve the matter as soon as reasonably possible.

In addition to this, one of the eldest children had raised objection to returning to America, however, Holman J had previously determined this to be a relatively borderline objective. Now, given the passage of time, Holman J asked to be freshly informed as to the state of mind and feelings of the child at the upcoming hearing.

The full judgment can be read here: http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Fam/2018/1639.html

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