Judge transfers jurisdiction to UK for child born in Ireland, whose parents came here to evade UK social services and potential adoption of the child – 2024vol1#37

Following a four-day hearing, a judge in the Dublin District Court transferred jurisdiction to a UK court for child care proceedings concerning a child (A) born in Ireland to British parents. The child’s siblings were in care in the UK. The court found that the transfer was in the child’s best interests given that the majority of the relevant history of social services’ engagement with the family, along with institutional knowledge, was in the UK. Therefore the court found that the UK social services were in a better position to make informed decisions with regard to the short, medium and long term care of the child in question.

The application to transferred the proceedings to the UK was made by the Child and Family Agency (CFA) under article 8 of the Hague Convention – the Convention on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Co-Operation in Respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children. Since Brexit this has been the instrument used to deal with inter-jurisdictional matters relating to child protection, as the previous EU Regulations no longer applied.

The four-month-old infant was taken into the care of the CFA when she was less than two weeks old under an interim care order, which had been subsequently extended on multiple occasions. The mother had arrived in Ireland approximately five months before the child was born. This was her eighth child. One had died in an accident, another was still-born, three had been adopted and two were under care orders, one of them, the sixth (F) living with her father. The seventh child (G) was the first the mother had with the father in these proceedings, and is referred to here as H.

The proceedings in the UK leading to care orders being made for F and G took place in 2021 and 2022 and the District Court in Dublin accepted the findings of fact made by three judgments of the Courts of England and Wales relating to these children.

Both parents were present in court for the hearings and had separate legal representation. While the interim care order had been extended on consent initially, the parents opposed its further extension at a later hearing.

The parents were also opposing the transfer of jurisdiction from Ireland to the UK and sought to have the child remain in Ireland.

Contested hearing to extend the interim care order

At this hearing the social worker told the court that the baby’s parents were living separately but that they were very much together. The father was living in a hostel and the mother was living in a supported hub accommodation. Both parents were attending access with Baby H together on a daily basis. The parents were taking steps to obtain social housing, but none had been available at the time of the hearing.

The social worker said that the CFA had concerns about the nature of the relationship between the parents. Those concerns included coercive control and domestic violence. She said that there had been episodes of heightened aggressive behaviour on the part of the father and the social worker had heard him speak very harshly to the mother and on one occasion, he had kicked her. These had been among the reasons for the CFA’s initial application for the interim care order for Baby H.

She also said that the findings of a UK judge of parental drug abuse in historic proceedings in that jurisdiction had also been a consideration. The parents had both claimed to be drug free, but until the day of this hearing, they had declined to undergo hair follicle testing. She said that the parents had provided samples for urinalysis, but the CFA considered this method of testing to be unreliable due to the ease with which the results could be falsified.

The social worker said that access between Baby H and her parents had been going well. However, the father’s access had had to be suspended for a few weeks due to his aggressive behaviour to a social worker.

She said that there had also been an incident at the baby’s foster placement, unrelated to the parents, in which a car window had been smashed. It was believed that this related to the adult son of the foster parents, who was involved in criminality. The incident had been reported to the Gardaí. The social work department had sought a meeting with Gardaí the following day and had put a safety plan in place.

The father’s barrister was critical of the fact that the social worker report had not been updated to include this significant incident.

The barrister for the mother said that she was settling in very well to her accommodation and that there had been no issues since she had arrived there. She said that the mother would give evidence that Baby H could stay with her in her room and asked the social worker if it would be possible to return H to the mother’s care under a Supervision Order. The social worker replied that both parents were a flight risk and had a history of fleeing to avoid social services input. The social worker replied that there were child protection concerns of long standing in the UK.

Responding to the father’s barrister’s concern about the violent incident, the social worker replied that the foster carers were providing a very high level of care to Baby H and that their adult son, who was the target of the violence, had not resided at their house for many years. The social worker said that the social work department was liaising with the gardai about the incident. It would only be possible to return H to her parents if the CFA was absolutely satisfied of her safety. The father had been quite threatening to the social work staff, but his engagement with them had since improved. She accepted that the parents had a good working relationship with the access worker. However, she said that it had required a lot of management and de-escalation to keep this relationship level.

The father’s barrister asked the social worker whether she agreed that it would be in Baby H’s best interests as a newborn baby to be removed from the foster carers who had been the target of the recent violent attack and for her to be reunited with her parents. The social worker said that H might need to change foster carers but she did not agree that it would be in the baby’s best interests to be reunited with her parents. She said the issue was that the parents had not, in fact, been willing to engage with social services and that situations escalated very quickly.

The barrister for the baby’s guardian ad litem (GAL) asked the social worker who had informed the safety plan for the foster carers. The social worker confirmed that the plan was informed by the gardai, the foster carer’s family, and the multidisciplinary team in the social work department of the CFA. She said that all of the stakeholders involved in the plan had agreed to stand behind it. The safety plan was to be reviewed the following week at a meeting with the gardai. In parallel, the social work department was considering a new placement.

Giving evidence, the baby’s mother said that if she had known about the violent incident earlier she would not have agreed to a previous extension of the interim care order for Baby H. She said that she had only found about the incident the previous night, her daughter had been in the foster carer’s house upstairs and the gardai had been involved. The social worker had told her that she would talk to her the following day, but she had not done so. She had not been told when the incident had occurred, she had only been told that Baby A had been moved to the foster carer’s daughter’s house.

She wanted Baby H to be back in her care. She said that she would agree to any conditions the CFA wished to impose in order to allay their fears of being a flight risk, including unannounced visits any time day or night, handing in her passport and compliance with a supervision order.

She told the court that she was getting on great in her current accommodation. A lady with three children, another with more children, a lady with two boys, and a lady with a little girl were also living at her accommodation hub. Only women and children were allowed to live there. She had been providing urine samples and the results had all been clear. She had given her consent to hair follicle testing. She confirmed that it was still the case that she was with Baby H’s father, but she was willing to live alone with Baby H if necessary.

She said “Who can look after my daughter better than her parents? I just want her back in my care. After what has happened, I believe that she will get the best care with me. I still have concerns about her safety as it is a family member of the foster carers that has been the cause of the incident.”

The mother said that she came to Ireland when she was about four and a half months pregnant. She had known that as soon as the local authorities in the UK became aware of her pregnancy and the birth of her baby, they would take her and she had wanted a chance to look after her.

There was only one option that UK authorities would consider and that was adoption. She said that she believed this because her last child had been put up for adoption and the UK social services had stopped her from going to their offices and had stopped her from seeing another one of her daughters, F, who was currently living in the UK with her father.

The mother said that following the birth of F, she had received therapy to help her get over her childhood traumas. This therapy had changed her life. However, her partner at the time was accused of being a paedophile and F and G were both taken into care.

She had come to Ireland to avoid this for her new baby. She said that she wanted to work with the Irish social services. Her father was from Ireland and it was where she had been born. She had spent time in Ireland when she was young but she did not have an Irish birth certificate or any other documents to support this. Her maternal family were members of the Traveller community. She said that she had been in care for periods of time herself.

It would impact Baby H a lot if these proceedings were to transfer from Ireland to UK. The baby would never be part of her family unit. If the UK authorities were to accept jurisdiction of these proceedings, then because of her other children, they would automatically ask for H to be transferred back to the UK and they would place her for adoption. She agreed that there was a suggestion that the adoptive parents of G would also take Baby H. However, she said that this would involve the adoption of the baby, it would not be a foster placement.

She had no family support. She was not in contact with any of her family. Her own parents had passed away, as had one of her sisters. Her other siblings were drug addicts or rapists and she had no contact with them.

She said that she found working with the CFA in Ireland better than working with social services in the UK. She worked well with the access worker. In the UK, the social services had refused to speak to her.

She was settling into the accommodation hub here in Ireland. She was looking for alternative accommodation, however, a passport was required to enable her apply for social housing from the local council. She intended to live in Ireland even if the proceedings were to transfer to the UK. She was willing to work with the CFA regarding any assessments that they required of her. She said “Please don’t send [H] to the UK”.

She confirmed to the father’s barrister that her relationship with the UK social services had broken down and that in the UK the system involved forced adoptions. She confirmed that she had had no contact with her children in the UK who had been adopted. The last time she had had contact with Daughter F was two years earlier. She had had one video call with Daughter F since she came to Ireland. She said, in the case of Daughter F, it was not her father that was preventing contact but that the local authority had told him to refuse contact.

In the case of Baby H, she currently had joint access along with her partner, the baby’s father. She acknowledged that access by the baby’s father had been suspended for a period, but said that he had reengaged with the social work department and access had resumed.

She said that she did not share the concerns of the Irish social work department about his criminal past or his current behaviour. He had not shown any aggression with her. The baby’s father was partially deaf and that he was not violent, but rather was just loud.

The barrister for the CFA said that the reason the mother had come to Ireland was to make a family with H. However, he said that if the proceedings transferred to the UK and she remained in Ireland, then she would not be able to keep in contact with the baby. The mother said that she was still in relationship with the baby’s father and that she was actively making plans to make a family here in Ireland with him. She said that the baby’s father had a criminal record, but it was from more than 20 years ago. He had done nothing wrong since.

Giving evidence, the father said that both he and the mother disputed the UK judge’s findings in the care order applications for the other children. He said that the judge of the UK court had not allowed him to defend himself. He had been arrested on suspicion of uploading paedophile pictures but, following a police investigation, they had found he had had nothing to do with this. He accepted that he had misused drugs historically, but he had been drug-free for two and a half years now. He disputed that he had mental health difficulties and a history of violence.

He accepted that at 19 years of age he had gone to jail for three street robberies. He had received a jail sentence of nine years and a post release license for a further five years. However, he said that the robberies had been 26 years earlier and a man was entitled to change his life. He said that the UK judge’s findings that he had a propensity to violence was not a finding of fact, but rather the judge’s opinion.

Since he had stopped taking drugs his anger had reduced. He did not accept that the CFA had had sufficient grounds to take the baby into care. The CFA should have done their own assessments. Instead they had relied upon a UK judgment that the parents disputed.

The GAL supported the CFA’s application to remit the case back to the UK He said that he did not believe there had been any change in the risks that had grounded the granting of the original interim care order. He did not agree with the parents’ view that assessments should be done from “ground zero” here in Ireland. He said that a significant number of assessments had been done previously and it would not be appropriate to start the assessments de novo.

If one agreed with the findings of fact found by the UK judge, these were not low risk parents. In fact, they were high risk. He said that a key element was the parent’s motivation to change and to engage with the necessary therapeutic interventions to make the change happen.

In granting the CFA’s application to extend the interim care order for Baby H, the judge said that the court must find that the circumstances for granting the initial interim care order continued to exist, this was the test, and in that nothing radical had changed. While she understood the parents’ concerns, she said that the court was satisfied that the threshold continued to exist. However, she made directions that the matter would be re-entered by default should anything further untoward happen at the baby’s placement or to the foster carers.

When the case resumed the father outlined his own background. He said he had two children with the respondent mother, the elder one had been adopted in the UK. He also regarded another child as his, that child lived with her biological father. He was asked what contact he had with his adopted daughter, and he said no contact. They had been told they could have one letter per year.

His barrister asked him about evidence of a diagnosis for a personality disorder. He said he did not have paranoia but that he had a mixed personality disorder. He was asked what steps he had taken to respond to that and he said he had tried to get reassessed in the UK. He said he was a criminal as a teenager and he had been transferred to a psychiatric hospital but that was dismissed at a tribunal.

He was asked if he had a criminal history and he said yes, as a teenager he was involved in three street robberies. He said he was now focused and never wanted to go back to that. He had been homeless and used drugs. Asked what he meant by the drug use he said his older sister used to inject him with heroin when he was 17 or 18. He had become addicted to heroin, speed and cannabis and smoked cannabis for 30 years. He was now 45. He said he was no longer involved with drugs.

Asked how that had come about he said he went to drug rehabilitation on the landing in prison and he was associated with a drug agency, INSPIRE, who helped with addiction and rehabilitation and understanding addiction. He said deceit, lies and betrayal were part of addiction. He had an understanding about why he had done drugs. Part of his treatment programme was that he did not want medications for psychiatric issues.

Asked about child abuse in his home and he said he had been raised by his mother and that he was whacked with a wooden stick, slippers, belts. He said he had been failed as a child.

He said his relationship with the mother of H had begun seven years previously. At the time he did not know everything about her past. He did not judge past mistakes. They both had an understanding and had heard negatives things about one another. He was not walking away due to their past.

Asked why he had travelled to Ireland, he said he had been labelled as a paedophile by a fake McKenzie friend. The house had been smashed up, he had been spat on in the street and he had made several reports to the police. The couple had made the decision to travel when the mother was three months pregnant.

When they first arrived they were homeless and living in a tent in a park, and then he got a place in a hostel and the mother was in separate accommodation for women and children.

Asked if they come to Ireland to prevent his daughter from being adopted, he said they had. They had both received PPS numbers the previous day and wanted to work. He had applied for job-seekers’ allowance. His UK benefits had stopped the day before.

He claimed that in the UK only adoption was considered when children were taken into care, and that there were abuses in the adoption system. Social workers were running their own adoptions. He also claimed that the Irish court had not seen all the documents that had been available to the UK courts when they made the care orders for the other children. The CFA barrister pointed out that all the documents and the relevant witnesses were more likely to be available to the UK courts. The father said judgments were being made on reports that were four years old, and people should be allowed to change.

He agreed that he had been abusive to a CFA social worker during access, and that he had recorded her without her knowledge. He said he had the right to protect himself.

He said he understood that the test for the court’s decision was the best interests of the child, and that this might not be his best interest.

Submissions of the parties

The mother’s barrister said at the outset that painful evidence had had to be listened to and the evidence was that the mother’s other children had been taken against her will. Her belief was that this baby would be adopted in the UK and that the request by the CFA to transfer jurisdiction was essentially that she be adopted. The barrister asked the court to take into account that this was the mother’s firm belief.

She argued that H was an Irish citizen and a British citizen but she had never been to the UK. She said therefore H could not have habitual residence there. Her habitual residence had to be Ireland. In assessing whether to transfer the proceedings she said the court had to take into account if it was in the child’s best interests. The parents had given evidence that they had no family in the UK or Ireland and no one who could care for her in the UK and she said it was the same position in Ireland and UK.

She argued that if there was a transfer of jurisdiction leading to a transfer of H to the UK there was no evidence that sibling access would take place. The baby’s ties with her birth family would be severed. She said the parents were clear they would not be returning to the UK even if an order was made, they would remain in Ireland and that the CFA should conduct assessments.

The barrister said the CFA were asking for the entire case to be transferred to the UK. She said she was not asking the court to transfer jurisdiction but said it was open to the court to transfer part of the case.

Finally, she said her client had experienced trauma and past experience in the UK and would not return. She said the mother’s belief was that there would be a forcible adoption. She said the parents were working better with the CFA than with the local authorities in the UK and felt they would be better able to work with the CFA rather than the UK authorities due to the past difficulties. It was in H’s interests for access to be maintained and the parents had attended access unless in court.

Submissions of the father

The barrister for the father said he rowed in fully behind the barrister for the mother regarding the submissions.

Referring to another case involving jurisdiction, he said the finding in the that case was that the mother had siblings and family in the UK, whereas in this case the respondent parents had no contact with wider family in the UK due to various traumatic events. Both H’s parents were in Ireland and were fully part of the court proceedings and he said there was a greater available of documentary evidence.

The UK at this stage had left the EU and that had a number of implications. H was an Irish citizen and he said the reliance that could be place on EU rights in the UK courts was questionable. The parents were resident in Ireland and they had the potential to rely on certain Charter rights. He said they would not be able to rely on EU Charter Rights in any UK proceedings. The ECHR was a live discussion in the UK. He said the UK government were constantly looking to depart from the ECHR.

He said there was a culture of quick or forced adoptions in the UK care system which was live and present. He said as recently as 2016 there were articles in the Guardian newspaper on forced adoptions. The court must be satisfied that any transfer would not have a detrimental effect on H and he said the parents would do anything for the baby bar moving to the UK. He said they had suffered deep trauma, had a distrust for UK authorities and were concerned about potential forced adoptions.

He said any perception of a deep-seated unwillingness on the part of the father to engage stemmed from difficulties and trauma inflicted on him in his life. Any form of a personality disorder had not been managed well.

In closing he said if the court was not with him in relation habitual residency then he said the best interests of H were best served by having the proceedings heard in this jurisdiction.

GAL submissions

The GAL solicitor said that the parents were asserting more of a connection to Ireland. That did not displace the connection with the UK.

The evidence of the GAL was that the case should go back to the UK in order to make determinations and to validate the baby’s rights. One must look at the test via the lens of the child and not the parent. The parents had told the court that they would not engage with UK services or the UK courts. The District Court judge had adopted the judgments of the UK.

In a High Court judgment on a similar issue, the fact that adoption was available had weighed on the judge’s mind. However, he had said the UK courts do provide for adoption, but simply because it was an avenue it was not a basis for refusing to transfer to the UK. The court must decide based on the “best interests of the child”. He said the question to the court was not one of adoption, but that might well be in the child’s best interests and just because a parent objects did not mean it is not in the best interests. The Irish courts did not contemplate adoption at a future point as a basis for refusing transfer of jurisdiction.

CFA submissions

On day four of the hearing, the CFA’s barrister made his submissions. He began by addressing a number of propositions that had been posited during the previous day’s hearing by the mother’s barrister. These were that a) the child must have a habitual residence, b) the presence of child established habitual residence and c) in such circumstances, that Article 6 of the Hague Convention applied.

He said that he disagreed with all those propositions. The rule regarding the habitual residence of the child was the basic rule for jurisdiction, but that Article 6 of the Convention applied only to children who were refugees or who were internationally displaced. Article 5 of the Convention related to children who have an established habitual residence. As the rules in Article 5 and Article 6 were different, it also followed that the concept of habitual residence could not be established by the presence of the child alone.

The general rule for jurisdiction was based on habitual residence and physical presence alone was not sufficient to establish habitual residence of child. In addition to physical presence, other factors must also be shown to demonstrate that the presence was not temporary or intermittent. These factors might include the duration of, and the reasons for, the stay in the state, the child’s nationality, attendance at school and linguistic skills, among other factors. The parent’s intentions were also relevant, including the application for social housing.

In another case the judge had to consider the habitual residence of a child when it had turned one year old. He concluded in that judgment where the parents had come to Ireland to flee the UK social services that the child, despite being one year old, had not acquired an Irish habitual residence.

In the proceedings regarding H, the criteria used to establish habitual residence, in addition to physical presence, included:

  1. some degree of integration into a social family environment,
  2. the duration of the stay,
  3. the child’s nationality,
  4. the child’s family and social relationships, and
  5. an application for social housing.

The reasons why the parents had come to the State had not been relevant to invocation of Article 8 of the Convention, but they had been relevant to establishing habitual residence.

He said that it was clear from the evidence that baby H’s parents had come to Ireland because they had wanted to keep baby H and they were afraid that the UK social services would want to take her from them. This, he said, was a different proposition to a person coming to Ireland because they wanted to live here for good.

Although the parents claimed that they intended to make an application to the local council for social housing, this application had not yet been made and would not be made until later that month. The parents had come to Ireland with no particular plan. They had had no identification up until the previous day, no PPS numbers, and they were in receipt of no benefits in Ireland. In fact, their UK benefits had only ended the previous day.

The parents were on a hardship payment in the short term, something akin to emergency housing rather than social housing. It did not qualify as a regular social welfare payment. Neither parent had employment. The parents appeared to have retained their UK habitual residence. However, this could not be said of Baby H as the baby had never resided in the UK. Equally, Baby H’s habitual residence could not be Ireland either. The child was under an interim care order only and the CFA had made it clear from the start that it was considering transferring jurisdiction to the UK.

The CFA’s barrister conceded that Baby H had Irish nationality. But he said that she also had UK nationality by virtue of having a birth father or mother who were of British citizenship. He said the fact that the child was a UK national was sufficient to engage Article 8 of the Convention. However, Article 8(d) of the Convention also referred to “States with which the child has a substantial connection”. The term “substantial connection” was not defined by the Convention. He submitted that British parents, British siblings, British social work involvement and British half siblings would all amount to a substantial connection to Great Britain.

The barrister then considered which jurisdiction he believed would be the best place to hear the case. He said that at an earlier hearing regarding Baby H, another district court judge had relied upon UK judgments that had been opened to the court in respect of the mother’s previous children. That judge had ruled that those judgments could be reopened in respect of the current child and the findings made by the UK judge in those judgments did not have to be proved again. The CFA’s barrister said that the court had a discretion to reopen the findings, but that the judge had declined to do so.

The barrister conceded that the care order application for Baby H was a new application and that it was open to the parents to try to reopen the findings of the UK judge in the context of a future care order hearing. However, there were approximately 4,500 pages of documents that were relevant to, but that had not been released into, those UK proceedings. Some matters had been considered by the UK court, but other matters had not been considered. The barrister did not know if there were other documents beyond those 4,500 pages. He said that the father had been clear that there were more documents.

In addition, the identity of all of the witnesses involved in those previous proceedings was not known to the Irish authorities or indeed whether or not they would be available to attend a new hearing. The rules of evidence did not allow those witnesses to be compelled and some of them might be reluctant to come to Ireland for a new hearing. There was an allegation that one of the witnesses may have been subjected to a campaign of harassment and it was unlikely that they would want to come.

There were other uncertainties. Was there a DAR in respect of the proceedings? If yes, would the Irish authorities be entitled to the UK’s DAR? One of the UK judgments had involved eight days of hearings. There had been two other UK judgments.

These were practical problems that placed the UK courts in a much better position to hear these proceedings and which would allow them to reopen any of the previous findings where necessary. It would be an enormous task to rerun those proceedings here in Ireland.

Addressing a point raised in the submissions by the father’s legal team, regarding the excessive use of adoption by the UK authorities, he said that it was not the role of the Irish courts to second guess the possible decisions another court might make. He added that in 2013 two UK judgments had radically tightened the conditions for allowing adoptions in UK. It was now the case that a) that adoption had to be a last resort and b) that no alternative to adoption would suffice. Those judgments had been referred to and applied by the UK judge when making his judgment in the prior proceedings.

Finally, the barrister quoted from Mr Justice O’Donnell’s majority judgment in Nottinghamshire County Council v KB and KB [2011] IESC 48 at paragraph 57:

“All we know is that in childcare applications the Courts in England and Wales are required to take a single track approach so that all issues including adoption can be addressed in a single hearing. It may perhaps be inferred that in practice adoption orders may be made more readily in England than in Ireland, but that is by no means enough to prohibit return.”

Equally, here in Ireland, adoption was just one of a range of options to be considered.

Article 8of the Convention provided for exceptions to the usual rules where it can be established that a different jurisdiction would be better placed to assess the best interests of child. He said in this case, the UK courts were best placed to assess and determine what would be in the best interests of Baby H.

He added that there were also some additional factors that had arisen since these proceedings had commenced. These were the fact that there were emerging issues surrounding the current foster placement for Baby H and the requirement to put in place an emergency safety plan with the current foster carers. In addition, there was the question of sibling access and the possibility of joint placement for H. He said the Irish authorities were not in a position to assess whether any of these options were possible and it would be better for the UK authorities to conduct such assessments. Also, while the barrister accepted that the parents had a good working relationship with the current access worker, it would be the case that once H transferred to the Children in Care team, a new access worker would be appointed.

He reminded the court that the parents had said in evidence that they would never return to the UK even if Baby H was returned there. However, he said the parents had come to Ireland and had stayed here for Baby H and it was, therefore, reasonable to conclude that they would most likely leave Ireland if she was returned to the UK, despite their protestations. However, if they did not leave, this itself would be a concern. He said that the decision of parents not to leave could not amount to an absolute veto to a transfer of jurisdiction. Were that the case, Article 8 could never be invoked.

The barrister ended his submissions by saying that the Human Rights Act continued to apply in the UK despite some UK ministerial comments. In fact, he said the UK had implemented the Human Rights Act better than had Ireland. In that regard, he said that the UK judge in his judgment had engaged in a careful analysis of the UK’s human rights case law also, and as a result, this should not form any part of this courts analysis.


The judge stated that the proceedings required a written judgment and listed the matter for judgment three weeks later.

In that written judgment, the judge granted the application to transfer jurisdiction for the case in its entirety to the UK on the grounds that this was in the child’s best interests given that the majority of the relevant history of social services’ engagement with the family resided in the UK along with institutional knowledge of the case. Therefore the court found that the UK social services were in a better position to make informed decisions with regard to the short, medium and long term care of the child in question.

Explaining its decision, the court agreed that H’s habitual residence could not be established as she had never been resident in the UK but her habitual residence in Ireland had not been established. It did not accept that Article 6 of the convention only applied to refugee children.

Article 8 of the Convention provided that a court of a contracting state could consider that the authority of another contracting state would be better placed, in the particular case, to assess the best interests of the child where the child had a particular connection with that state. In this context, and having considered the submissions and evidence, the court was satisfied that H had a substantial connection to the UK for the purposes of Article 8.

The fact that the parents have indicated that they would refuse to engage with the UK authorities in this matter, and their views with respect to the UK authorities did not bar the Irish authorities from requesting the UK authorities to assume jurisdiction in this case, if it determined that the UK authorities were best placed to deal with H’s case and that this was in the infant’s best interests.