Royaume-Uni - Angleterre et Pays de Galles
20 May 2022
Intégration de l'enfant - art. 12(2)
The mother and father met in Uganda in 2012. The father was living in England, where he had obtained citizenship, and the mother was living in Uganda. They married in 2013 and the mother obtained a British ‘spousal visa’.
After their marriage, they moved to Amsterdam, where their child was born. In September 2014, they moved back to the United Kingdom.
In 2019, due to marital problems, the mother and father began discussing the possibility of living separately. The mother claimed that they had received a religious divorce but not a civil divorce. The father claimed they were still married.
In September 2020, the mother moved to the United States with the child and applied for asylum there. Her asylum application was in large part based on allegations that she was abused by the father.
In September 2021, the father made an application under the 1980 Convention for return of the child to the United Kingdom.
Return ordered. The Court did not find that the father had consented or acquiesced to the removal of the child from the United Kingdom and the mother did not provide enough evidence to make out an exception to return under Article 13(2) (child’s objections), Article 13(1)(b) (grave risk of harm) or Article 12 (settlement of the child).
The mother failed to provide enough evidence that the child was settled within the meaning of Article 12. Though the child had lived in the United States for two years, attended school and had friends and cousins nearby, the Court found that there was no further evidence to establish that the child was well-settled and no indication that the child was not well-settled in the United Kingdom.
The Court also considered the fact that the mother and child did not have their own place of residence in the United States and that they relied entirely on the mother’s partner for their financial stability
Finally, the Court stated that the mother and child’s immigration status in the United States was uncertain. Though the mother had applied for asylum, both for herself and on behalf of the child, neither had yet been granted asylum, whilst the child still possessed British citizenship and a British passport.