Experts from Knights’ Chester office have won a case in the High Court which has permitted a father to take custody of his 14-year-old son, after his mother claimed the child was a victim of international abduction.

In an unusual case, Elisabeth Pugh from Knights’ specialist family team acted on behalf of the father when the child, who regularly visited his UK-based father during holidays, refused to return to his foreign home, declaring that he would rather live in the UK where his father runs a business.

In a dramatic bid to see the child returned home, the mother asked the court, under the Hague Convention, to order an expeditious return to his place of residence abroad. She then unsuccessfully appealed that decision to the Court of Appeal when it went against her.

Elisabeth, who has more than 13 years’ experience in divorce and family finances, said it was a very fast-paced and complex case which resulted in the best possible outcome for the father – the happiness of his son.

“Cases involving children are always very emotive and challenging, especially when parents and children are overseas,” said Elisabeth partner at Knights’ Chester office.

However, despite the complexities of this case, the family team at Knights have a wealth of experience in understanding the international laws surrounding child custody. In this case the mother lost her appeal, despite being represented by David Williams QC – the same barrister working on behalf of Madonna in the high-profile custody battle with son Rocco – where there are striking similarities between both circumstances.

“This case highlights the importance of listening to the children involved in children cases.  It is the child who will have to live with what the court decides which is perhaps all the more significant when parents live overseas from one another. In a world which is getting smaller day by day in terms of business perspectives, communications and relationships it is likely that we will see more and more cases like this as families split up.

“We’re delighted to have successfully defended this case on behalf of the father and to have achieved the best possible outcome in such a major case.”


For more information about the support that Knights’ specialist family team can offer please contact Elisabeth Pugh on 01244 896600.