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On home ground

19 April 2013 / Clare Williams
Issue: 7556 / Categories: Features , Family

A recent Court of Appeal case tackles the controversial concept of habitual residence. Clare Williams reports

In ZA & Another v NA [2012] EWCA Civ 1396, the parents celebrated an arranged marriage in Pakistan in 1999. The mother obtained a visa and the couple moved to this country. Their first three children were born here in 2001, 2002 and 2005 respectively. There were difficulties in the marriage and the parties lived apart between 2006 and 2008. The mother alleged verbal and physical aggression against the father but dropped charges against him, in Thorpe LJ’s judgment, under pressure from her family. She went to a refuge and then found accommodation for herself and the children. Contact arrangements were put in place.

In 2009, the mother took the three children to Pakistan on holiday. Despite the mother and children having return flights booked, the father and his family pressured her into a reconciliation. She and the three children remained in Pakistan in circumstances described by the court as “involuntary”. The mother became pregnant by the father in 2010, managing to resist pressu

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