Final stage of “Walk Across Borders” by Steven Monk Dalton – London

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Day 44 – Brentford to Royal Courts of Justice, London

I cannot believe that Walk Across Borders is now completed. It has been an amazing experience and a personal achievement for me. I stated my reasons and my goals and I feel that these have mainly been achieved

Thank you to everybody who has supported me throughout. It really has meant so much.

Day 44 began at Brentford railway station and I decided to take the route which would take us down by Chelsea Embankment although this made it a little longer, it seemed a nicer route..

It was fantastic to see my friend Holly amongst the people who joined us.. Really did mean a lot that she and her partner made the journey down from Taunton.. Glad we managed to catch up at Hammersmith.. I was getting worried that you wouldnt catch us for a while 🙂

We stopped a few times on the journey since this was a much shorter walking day than any of the other days and arrived at the Royal Courts of Justice at just after 3.15 pm..

Following the end of the journey, we went for a celebration drink and cake at Pret a Manger..

Thank you again for all of your support.. 12.1 miles completed which made the TOTAL distance for Walk Across Borders to be 1083.2 miles.. (1743.25 km)

Some of you might be glad to hear the the lyca will now go in the back of my wardrobe for a while :)…

Thank you so much everybody for your amazing support and very kind comments. Each and every one have been so appreciated.

WALK ACROSS BORDERS IS COMPLETED

Thank you everybody who walked with me today and any of the other days… To Michelle who I wish would have been able to be here today… She did most of the work.. I just did the walking

Thank you to the team at Reunite International Child Abuction Centre. In particular, Alison Shalaby who is an absolute diamond

Thank you also to Irene for inviting me to stay and oh wow…. THE BATH !!!! Nearly fell asleep in there!!

I have a few things I need to do in the UK before returning home but I am going to go quiet on social media for a little while so if my facebook page becomes disabled, dont worry… I’m ok and I’ll be back

I hope you will continue to follow this page as I have further plans for Walk Across Borders in the future..
http://walkacrossborders.blogspot.com.es/

Also, if you would like to donate to my nominated charity, Reunite International Child Abduction Centre, you can do so on my JustGiving page www.justgiving.com/walkacrossborders

If you wish to be in touch the next few weeks, contact me on s.monkdalton@gmail.com or my mobile 0034 622 925754..

Love and best wishes

Steve xxx

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Walk Across Borders: Spain to UK charity walk by Steven Monk-Dalton

Between 23 August 2015 and 5 October 2015, Steven Monk-Dalton, whose daughter is a victim of international parental child abduction, will walk from Orihuela in Spain to the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand in London in support of the charity Reunite.  I hope to be able to join the last leg of this journey from Brentford to central London on 5 October.  Please support this walk by sharing the links to his Facebook and Just Giving pages as widely as possible, joining the walk (for readers based in Spain, France and/or the UK) and by sponsoring him also.

Surprising outcome in Spain-UK abduction case

The flow of UK higher court parental child abduction cases has become a torrent. There is now a third Court of Appeal decision on the issue so far this year – issued barely a week into February. There have also been a couple of new decisions at High Court level (where all such cases start) since the beginning of January 2015 as well. These can be read here and here for readers who are interested. At the time of writing, of the ten cases decided by the Family Division of the High Court since the beginning of January 2015, two (or 20%) have been parental child abduction cases.

On the face of it, the latest Court of Appeal decision is a surprising one, troubling even. The case concerned a 14 year old boy. His parents separated when he was about 18 months old. Between 2003 and the summer of 2014 the boy lived in Spain with his mother. He would regularly visit his father in the UK. He traveled to the UK for one such visit on 19 July 2014. He did not return to Spain.

Both the High Court and, on appeal, the Court of Appeal found that the child was not returnable to Spain under the Hague Convention. The reason was that the Article 13 exception (child’s objection) applied. This exception is not an absolute one as the courts could, in the exercise of discretion, have returned the child anyway, if the circumstances as a whole warranted it. That did not however happen in this case. The reasons the courts decided as they did turned largely on the individual facts, and the fairly advanced age of the boy, but of note are the words of Lord Justice Davis, alert to the possibility of this decision being seen as perverse, in the second judgment given by the Court:

49.  The parents in this case had reached a thoroughly sensible arrangement in the English family court proceedings, embodied in a consent order made on 6 May 2003. Their arrangements with regard to E thereafter had been operated by reference to that consent order. When the mother put E on a plane at Madrid in July 2013 for his usual summer holiday with his father in England, she naturally would have expected him to return a few weeks later in accordance with the consent order and the agreed arrangements. E would likewise at that time have expected to return. But this did not happen. Further, the English court has refused to order his return. Imagine her feelings.

50.  One surely has to have some concern about the wider potential implications of such an outcome. If there is to be a perception that children may not be returned, even after a short visit to a parent in England and even after prompt application made, parents may be reluctant even to agree the sensible kind of consent order made in this case in circumstances where consent orders are to be encouraged. Or parents may become increasingly reluctant to abide by the terms of such a consent order. Would the mother have put E on the plane at Madrid had she thought this might happen? She would not.

[…]

52.  The position then is that each such case is fact and circumstance specific. That gives flexibility, in a context calling for flexibility, even if it comes at the cost of certainty. In my view, the judge was, in this case on the evidence before him, entitled to make the findings that he made and to evaluate the evidence as he did. He was entitled to give full weight to the report and evidence of the experienced CAFCASS officer. Whilst Mr Williams’ minute dissection of the evidence and of the judgment operated to confirm, to my mind, that the mother had a powerful case to pursue, I think, with all respect, that ultimately his approach imposed far too great a burden of judicial exposition to be required of first instance judgments in such cases (in what, after all, are summary proceedings). At all events, the judge here dealt with all relevant points. He sufficiently spelled out the reasons for his conclusion and for the way in which he exercised his discretion. The appeal court cannot be used as a vehicle for conducting in effect an entire rehearing in such circumstances.