Appeal dismissed, return ordered with undertakings offered
The Court dismissed the appeal and ordered the return of the child: the habitual residence of the child was in the United States, the retention was wrongful and none of the exceptions had been proved to the standard required under the Convention.
One child allegedly wrongfully retained at age 1 –Married parents – Father national of Israel – Mother national of Israel – Child lived in USA until 2019 – Application for return filed with the Tel Aviv Family Court of Israel on 20 February 2020 – Return ordered – Main issue: Article 13(1)(b) – COVID-19 did not amount to a grave risk of harm to the child, in fact the medical care for the child may be better in the USA than in Israel as they had medical coverage there.
One child wrongfully removed at age 11 – Married parents – Father national of Greece – Mother national of Greece – Joint custody rights – Child lived in Greece until 2018 and then in the United Kingdom until 2020, he was habitually resident in the United Kingdom – Application for return filed with the Central Authority of England and Wales in March 2020 – Decision on inward return order deferred – Main issues: Inward return orders : the court should wait until the conclusion of the Greek proceedings under the 1980 Hague Convention before deciding on whether to make an inward return order; COVID-19 - Mother removed the child to Greece as she considered it to be a safer environment with regards to the COVID-19 pandemic.
One child wrongfully removed at age 6 – National of Spain – Father national of Bolivia – Mother national of Colombia and Spain – Mother primary carer and father exercising rights of contact, including staying contact – Child lived in Spain until September 2018 – Return ordered – Main issue: COVID-19 – due to travel restrictions between the UK and Spain it was acknowledged that a safe return may take more time to organise than usual, but that it should take place as soon as reasonably practicable.
One child wrongfully retained at age 4 – Separated parents – Father national of Australia – Mother national of United Kingdom – Joint custody rights – Child lived in Australia until August 2019 – Application for return filed in November 2019 – Return ordered – Main issue: COVID-19 – due to the current travel restrictions in the UK and in Australia, a date would be fixed for the protective measures to be in place and a date thereafter for the child to return.
One child wrongfully removed at age 12 – Joint parental responsibility, mother the primary carer of the child and the father had access rights – Child lived in Spain until February 2020 – Return ordered – Main issue: Article 13(1)(b), COVID-19 – the risk of physical harm presented by the pandemic – the risk of contracting COVID-19 during the return travel from the UK to Spain was not sufficient to amount to the “grave risk” of physical harm required by Art. 13(b).
Two children wrongfully removed - Children lived in Poland until their removal to Canada – Return ordered – Main issue: COVID-19 delay to return due to travel restrictions – a date was set for the return to Poland accompanied by an order to account for the possibility that travel would be further delayed until August 2020.
Two children allegedly wrongfully removed – Children lived in Nigeria until October 2019 – Main issue: COVID-19 determination of urgency - The present application for return under the 1980 Hague Convention was not an ‘urgent’ matter that should be dealt with during the suspension of regular court operation.
Two children wrongfully removed and retained – Children lived in the United States of America until November 2019 – Return ordered – Main issue: COVID-19 determination of urgency – Hague Convention abduction applications are urgent matters that should be dealt with, even during the suspension of regular court operation.