Hague Convention and International Child Abduction: Take Two – Or Double Take?

A few months ago, I posted about an appeal from a ruling deporting an American child, Arianna Adan, to return her to her father, who is living in the country where the child’s mother alleges that the father sexually abused her and the mother reportedly faces kidnapping charges if she returns there. According to a recent article, that case was reversed on appeal – but the case is not yet over and the final outcome is undecided.

Clients, understandably, often ask their lawyers “how will the judge rule in my case?” When you are tempted to ask your lawyer to “read tea leaves”, consider the trial court’s ruling under the Hague Convention in the case above. And the appellate court’s ruling under the Hague Convention in the same case.

And then consider the Hague Convention case concerning Shelby Cannon, as reported by MSNBC in Dad’s custody quest shows cracks in the system. According to the child’s father, the girl’s mother kidnapped her while in Ireland, assumed a bogus name and had her daughter impersonate a dead Irish child, all to evade court rulings in the US and Britain.

The mother’s reported justification was that “she could not afford a custody fight in the U.S.” While condemning the girl’s mother’s actions, the British court nonetheless ruled in her favor and denied the father’s application to return (“deport”) his daughter to the US.

Both girls’ cases are governed by the same international law. Care to make any predictions about future rulings in future proceedings in either case?