Facts: This was an application for the return of a child to Ukraine under the Hague Convention. The mother left Ukraine with the child after the invasion by Russia and brought her to Ireland. The father did not consent to this removal and claimed that a Ukrainian resolution issued shortly after the conflict began permitting children under 16 to be brought across the border did not amend or extinguish his custody rights or affect his or the child’s rights under the Hague Convention. The father issued proceedings in the Irish courts seeking the return of the child to Ukraine. The mother argued that the Ukrainian resolution did entitle her to remove the child from Ukraine and also argued that the fact that Ukraine was at war with Russia amounted to a grave risk even if the removal was wrongful.
Reasoning: The High Court found that the child had been wrongfully removed from Ukraine and found that the Ukrainian resolution did not and could not amount to the abandonment of international treaty obligations such as the Hague Convention. The High Court also rejected the grave risk defence on the basis that although there was a war ongoing, the evidence did not establish a grave risk of harm if the child was returned to her home city given the statistics. The High Court found that the child’s psychological health was better served by returning her to Ukraine and also that return was in the child’s best interests.
Decision: The High Court ordered that the child be returned to Ukraine to the custody of her father.