The 5SAH Family team has wider-ranging expertise in numerous areas of international family law.

Child abduction

Members of the 5SAH Family team has appeared in the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and High Court in relation to child abduction cases to both signatories to the Hague Convention 1980 (‘Hague countries’) and non-Hague countries. In Hague proceedings, these cases often involve defences on the basis of settlement, consent, acquiescence, the child’s objections, grave risk of harm or intolerable situation. In non-Hague cases, the child is often made subject to a wardship order.

You can view our Family & Children team page here.

International surrogacy

Many people prefer to enter into surrogacy arrangements overseas but, under UK law, the parent will still be the birth mother. Intended parents can apply for a parental order under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 within 6 months of the child’s birth. The 5SAH Family team can advise on surrogacy arrangements and applications for parental orders, including on the connected immigration issues regarding bringing the child to the UK.

Leave to remove applications

International relocation is becoming ever more prevalent and disputed relocations require the permission of the court. This may come about when a foreign parent wishes to return to their home country or where a parent is offered employment abroad. The 5SAH Family team is experienced at making and opposing these applications, including complex cases involving issues of isolation, employment or visa issues, and mirror orders in the foreign jurisdiction.

Recognition and enforcement of foreign orders

Foreign orders can be recognised in England and Wales under the Hague Convention 1996 to give them the same standing as orders made in this jurisdiction. These may be mirror orders to give effect to international relocation to the UK. Such orders can also be enforced in this jurisdiction. The 5SAH Family team is experienced in recognition and enforcement proceedings, including committal proceedings before the High Court.

Intercountry adoption

Intercountry adoption is available via various routes that allow foreign adoptions to be recognised in England and Wales, including via the Hague Convention 2007, the overseas adoption regulations, or by a declaration of the High Court. The 5SAH Family team has appeared in applications for such declarations, including complex matters involving expert evidence of the adoption requirements in foreign states. Members of the team can also advise on the related immigration issues, including entry to the UK in order to apply for a UK adoption order.

Jurisdictional disputes

The jurisdiction to make welfare determinations in a child’s best interests is governed by the Hague Convention 1996 and the principle of habitual residence, or by the domestic common law and statutory rules, such as Part I, Family Law Act 1986, or under the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court. The 5SAH Family team are frequently engaged in proceedings involving jurisdictional disputes and arguments about the habitual residence of a child and applications to transfer proceedings to another jurisdiction overseas.

Tipstaff orders

The High Court has a range of powers available under its inherent jurisdiction that provide injunctive relief and give effect to its other orders. These include passport orders requiring seizure of a passport by the Tipstaff (a High Court enforcement officer), location orders allowing the Tipstaff to locate a child, which is often made in conjunction with disclosure orders against public bodies or other organisations, and collection orders, allowing the Tipstaff to remove the child and return them to the care of a named person. All of these orders are accompanied by port alerts to prevent the child from being removed from the jurisdiction. 5SAH Family team is experienced at applying fro these orders as freestanding orders or as part of ongoing proceedings.

Forced marriage and FGM

The court has the power to make a Forced Marriage Protection Order (FMPO) to protect a person facing forced marriage or who has been forced into marriage. A Female Genital Mutilation Orders (FGMPO) can extend to people who are, or may become, involved in FGM (female cutting) as well as those who commit or may attempt to commit a FGM offence. Both orders can include prohibitions to protect that person from a family member or anyone involved.

The 5SAH Family team are experienced at applying for FMPOs and FGMPOs, advising and providing training for the police and local authorities on how to proceed with the applications. The team also represent respondents as well as children subject to these orders through the appointment of a Guardian.

International child maintenance

The Child Maintenance Service (CMS) governs child maintenance arrangements where both parents are in the UK, but there are various routes to enforce child maintenance order made overseas, including under the Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Orders (REMO) agreement, schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989, or the Hague Convention 2007. The 5SAH Family team have expertise in advising on the best enforcement approach and on the appropriate applications to make to the court in England and Wales.

Stranded spouses

A stranded spouse is often a foreign national who is dependent on their partner for their immigration status in the UK, but is stranded abroad without the right or the means to return. It is sometimes referred to as ‘transnational marriage abandonment’ and is a form of domestic abuse where the stranded spouse can often find themselves separated from their children. 5SAH Family team is able to advise and appear in proceedings before the High Court dealing with such cases, often including a request for the children to be made wards of court and for a guardian to be appointed to represent their interests. Members of the team are also able to advise on the immigration options for a stranded spouse.

To view our Family & Children team page, please click here.

Instructing 5SAH

Please contact Senior Family Clerk, Dean Farlam, to find out which barrister is best suited to your case.