Child allowed to return to Ukraine with mother, court rules


A Ukrainian woman has won a Supreme Court case that will allow her child to be returned to the war-torn country against the father’s wishes.

The family fled their home shortly before the start of the war with Russia in February 2022 and moved to London in December last year.

After the mother indicated that she wanted to take the child back to her home country, the father successfully applied to the court to ban the child from leaving the UK.

Now, Judge Hayden has ruled that they can travel again despite the ongoing conflict.

‘Shocking and draconian’

The ruling stated that the city where the mother lives in Ukraine “has effectively weathered the war” and that the family is “very well positioned” to protect the child should the situation “start to deteriorate” as a result of the conflict.

Judge Hayden said: “I have no doubt that they have the real capacity to consider sensible and pragmatic solutions if the mother believes (the child) would be safer outside Ukraine.

“At this moment (the child) needs the safety and stability of his/her home and family. This can only be achieved with his/her mother in (Ukraine).”

Anita Guha KC, representing the mother, said there was “never any collective intention or agreement” between the couple to move permanently to London and that the father was “clearly aware” of her position.

She said the court order blocking their return to Ukraine was “shocking and draconian” and that the mother would do “everything in her power” to protect her child if the situation in Ukraine deteriorated.

But Jacqueline Renton, speaking for the father, said “it is clear the parties agreed” to the child’s move to London and that the move was agreed back in 2020.

The father argued that it would be “better” for them to stay in London, describing life in Ukraine as “very dangerous”.

Judge Hayden said he was “completely satisfied” that the child was “most integrated” in his home country.

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