On 17 January 2017 Michael Glaser successfully represented the mother in her application to vary a prohibited steps order made in September 2011, which had prevented her going on holiday with the children for 6 years. The father opposed the mother’s application.

The concern arose as the mother was from Iran – a non Hague Convention country – and the father is a prominent LGBT campaigner and could therefore not travel to Iran to secure the return of the children if she wrongfully retained them there. The mother had previously made threats to take the children to Iran and not return them but Mr Justice Jackson found that they had been made in the heat of the moment.

Mr Justice Jackson applied the test derived from A [2013] EWCA Civ 115 to conclude that the level of harm that the children would suffer if wrongfully retained in Iran “would be very high indeed” but went onto conclude that the magnitude of such a risk was low. In considering the level of risk he acknowledged that both parties agreed that if the children were not returned “there could be no confident that a retention could be reliably undone”. He took into account the benefits of overseas travel and in particular considering a visit to Iran to be “a real enlightenment for them”.

After hearing the evidence and Michael’s submissions, Mr Justice Jackson concluded that the mother could be trusted to take the children on holiday, either to a Hague Convention country or not, and to bring them back to England. This case presents an important evaluation of the issues regarding travel to a non-Hague Convention country and the safeguards that can be put in place to ensure the return of the children.

The case is reported at M v F (Travel to Non-Convention Country) [2017] EWFC 7