In the recent published case of Hong & Wai  FCCA 3448 Nicholes Family Lawyers (“NFL”) acted on behalf of the Applicant Mother, to secure an urgent order for the return to China of her 10 year old son who had been abducted by the Respondent Father and brought to Australia.
Keturah Sageman of NFL instructing Mr Andrew Strum SC and Ms Holly Renwick of counsel were successful in obtaining summary judgment in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia for the return of the child only six days after filing of the Initiating Application.
Further the Mother’s application for costs was successful with costs at double the court scale being ordered in Hong & Wai (No.2)  FCCA 3484.
Both parties were born in China, but met in a third country in 2005 where their son was born (and therefore a citizen of that country). The mother returned to China with the child in 2007 and lived there from that time. The father only occasionally spent time with the child even when he relocated back to China for a period.
The father had arranged to spend time with the child overnight in October 2015 when he took the child from China to his relatively new home in Australia with his new wife. The child had limited English and was enrolled by the father to attend a specialist English language school rather than commence mainstream schooling. The father had obtained a new passport for the child without the mother’s knowledge.
The father argued that he would not be able to obtain a fair hearing in China due to the mother’s family’s connections, but provided no evidence of this and the Court found no reason “to assume the usual inference about the comity of courts should not apply”. The father also sought a section 11F report, but the Court found this was inappropriate.
The mother and the child were able to return to China shortly after the hearing concluded.