Re C (a child) [2021] EWFC 32

Date of Case: 24 March 2021
Case Reference: [2021] EWFC 32

Sir James Munby heard this application by the mother (represented by Stewart Leech QC), who was a Finnish citizen, born in Russia. The respondent father (represented by Tim Amos QC) was born in Sweden and resident in Monaco. The application concerned their daughter, C, aged six and born in France. 

The mother’s application under Schedule 1 was made in England on 26 November 2019. Two days before, the father made an application in Monaco seeking blood testing to establish his parentage of C, as well as provision for him paying interim maintenance. A DNA test ordered by the court in Monaco in September 2020 established that C was the child of the father child.

The court in Monaco held that it had jurisdiction in relation to the issue of child maintenance, under Article 53 of the Code of Private International Law. The court noted that there was a dispute as to where the mother was domiciled (in the UK or France) and made directions to resolve which law applied to the claim. 

The English High court found that since the application was made in November 2019, the EU Maintenance Regulation (‘EMR’) still applied, even though the UK had since left the EU. The issue for the judge was whether, since Monaco is not part of the EU, the EMR nevertheless had ‘reflexive effect’, as argued by the father. This would allow the court to treat proceedings in a non-EU Member State as though they were in the EU. Munby J found that ‘reflexive effect’ did not apply. 

It was ultimately concluded that despite the ongoing proceedings in Monaco, the English court had jurisdiction to hear the mother’s application as long as she could establish habitual residence in England. After considering the principles of habitual residence it was found by the court that the mother had established her centre of interests in London by November 2019. It was also found that C had acquired a sufficient degree of integration in a social and family environment in London.

Bailii report: https://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWFC/HCJ/2021/32.html

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