The Telegraph reports today a child abduction case in which the court requested the views of a five year old girl. According to counsel for her father, five was “the youngest age in the reported jurisprudence at which a child has been found to have attained an age and degree of maturity at which it is appropriate to take account of her views”.
The case involves a mother who brought her three children aged eight, five and three to Britain from Ireland last year, without the consent of their father. The father seeks their return to Ireland. In the course of the proceedings Mrs Justice Black directed that the views of both the girl and her eight-year old brother be sought, through interviews with a social worker. The social worker reported that the children displayed “visceral” objections to returning to live with their father, and Mrs Justice Black refused their return.
The father sought permission to appeal against this decision, but was refused by the Court of Appeal, in what The Telegraph says "will be seen as a landmark ruling for the family courts". The Court of Appeal's reasons will be published later, and should be an interesting read - I will leave any further comment until then.