Francis Wilkinson represented the successful mother appealing against a High Court decision that her children leave England to live in Mexico. She and her children have lived in England for 9 years though they are not now here legally. The children were very young when they came to the country and the whole of their education has been here. English is their first language.
The Hague Convention 1980 application had been brought by the father not for the children to return to live in Mexico but so that he could have contact with his 3 daughters while they continued to live with their mother in England.
The mother had agreed that she would return to live in Mexico with the children but had not done so. The father applied for her to be committed to prison for not returning the children. She was sentenced to a suspended sentence of imprisonment and later the suspension was removed so that she was imprisoned at the time of the Court of Appeal hearing. The Court of Appeal ordered her immediate release principally because she had not had legal representation at either of the two hearings.
The case will continue in the High Court.