The Court of Appeal has provided pivotal guidance as to the legal framework that governs jurisdiction in public law proceedings following the departure of the UK from the EU, in LB Hackney v P [2023] EWCA Civ 1213.

Anita was instructed by Charlotte Image-Flower of Dawson Cornwell solicitors to represent the child’s grandmother, who had been the primary carer of the child in Tunisia. The child was made subject to care proceedings following her arrival in England, when Social Services were alerted to child protection concerns whilst she was in the care of her uncle.

Mr Justice Macdonald delivered the judgment in London Borough of Hackney v P and Ors [2022] EWHC 1981 (Fam) in respect of three aspects of the jurisdictional dispute, including whether there was now a change in approach to the relevant date to determine jurisdiction pursuant to the 1996 Hague Child Protection Convention. Led by Henry Setright KC, Anita appealed the decision of Macdonald J to the Court of Appeal.

The Court of Appeal allowed the appeal upon the first ground and determined that the correct approach is that jurisdiction must continue to be determined at the outset of the proceedings and agreed with the submissions that there had been a failure to properly engage their client far earlier in the proceedings. Further, the Court of Appeal provided guidance: as to the applicability of the 1996 Hague Convention involving cases where the rival state is a non-Contracting State; and whether the courts of England and Wales can assert jurisdiction upon the basis of physical presence if the child is habitually resident in another State.

The full judgment is available here.


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