W v A [2020] CSIH 55 – Regarding the child-centred approach required in cases concerning return orders under the Child Abduction and Custody Act 1985 

https://scotcourts.gov.uk/docs/default-source/cos-general-docs/pdf-docs-for-opinions/2020csih553f6202a8898069d2b500ff0000d74aa7.pdf?sfvrsn=0 (Inner House, Court of Session, 21 August 2020)

The Inner House of the Court of Session has quashed a return order sought by a father in respect of his 10year old child. The father had sought a return order requiring that the child be returned to Poland where he resides. The Outer House had previously granted this order on the basis, inter alia, that the child’s views ‘were “highly subjective” and failed to take into account material considerations…in relation to her wellbeing and best interests’. 

In reaching the decision to quash the return order, Lord Malcolm noted that “…courts are increasingly giving weight to the views of the child. A child-centric approach is required, with [the child’s] interests and general welfare at the forefront.” Furthermore, he noted that, “This is a child objections case and one would expect the judge to engage with the stated reasons for the child’s concerns, with due weight afforded to them, as part of the “child-centric” approach…There is no sense that such an approach was adopted”. 

In engaging with the child’s stated reasons, the court noted that, ‘[i]t has no particular comments on the way in which they are expressed, nor as to her lack of understanding of certain matters’.  

The child was represented by Clan Childlaw Ltd.  

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