S (Parental Alienation: Cult: Transfer of Primary Care): Care of child transferred to father

Photo by Mahosadha Ong on Unsplash

Another brief case note (forgive me - it is the weekend!), this time on a case about which I have written here before (readers unfamiliar with this case should read that post before what follows).

The case is S (Parental Alienation: Cult: Transfer of Primary Care), and that title gives the game away. This is the rehearing of the father's child arrangements application, after his successful appeal against the refusal of the court to transfer care of the child to him, following a finding that the process of alienation had begun in the context of the mother's adherence to a cult, 'Universal Medicine'. And yes, the court did order the transfer.

The reasoning was ultimately simple: Mr Justice Williams, hearing the case in place of the President, who has been hospitalised, found that:

"The mother has ... not come close to achieving the sort of break [with Universal Medicine] identified by the Court of Appeal, to showing a wholesale transformation in her position where with a full heart she leaves Universal Medicine, starts intensive therapy and begins the reversal of the process of alienation of the child. Whilst she has taken some steps, they are so limited in their extent and in my assessment so tenuous, that at this stage I am satisfied that, were the child to remain in her care, the process of estrangement would continue and in the short to medium term the child's relationship with the father would be terminated."

Accordingly, the transfer was ordered, with the child to spend such time with her mother as the father may agree.

It will come as no surprise that following the transfer the child, of her own volition, ended up back at the mother's home that evening, requiring the involvement of the police to return her to her father's home.

The mother also made an application for permission to appeal, but this was refused, essentially as Williams J did not consider that the appeal had a realistic prospect of success.

You can read the full judgment here.