High Court directs father to return his 21-year-old child to England

In early August 2016 the High Court delivered a landmark judgment directing that a 21-year-old British woman be returned from Saudi Arabia to England by her father.

Amina was born in Wales and holds dual nationality. Amina grew up in Swansea until she was forced to move to Saudi Arabia aged 16. Amina was tricked into leaving Wales under the guise of going on holiday and it was not until she arrived at the airport that she discovered she was being taken to Saudi Arabia. Amina wished to return to Wales but her father prevented her from doing so. It is reported that Amina was effectively imprisoned by her father and the court agreed that she had been deprived of her liberty. Amina’s father claimed that his actions were intended to protect his daughter because she had behaved in what he considered an un-Islamic manner.

The case is controversial as the courts in Saudi Arabia do not recognise dual nationality and the judgment is unlikely to be enforceable in Saudi Arabia. The courts have indicated that there is no reason to suggest that the father will not obey the order. The case is important as it demonstrates the English courts’ ability to make orders to protect British citizens abroad.

Amina is due to be returned home to Wales, where her mother and siblings still reside, by 11 September 2016.

In situations where a child is abducted from their usual place or residence, it is important that legal advice is sought immediately as any delay may prejudice the claim. Barker Gotelee can offer a free consultation to talk through all the options available and the likely costs involved.

Josephine Hayes is a solicitor in the Family department at Barker Gotelee Solicitors.

Suffolk Family Solicitors – for more information on our range of legal services, please call the team on 01473 611211 or email bg@barkergotelee.co.uk