Al Habtoor v Fotheringham: CA 15 Feb 2001

There is no jurisdiction in wardship over a child not habitually resident in England. A child born in England of and English mother and Dubai father had gone to live with his mother in Dubai at the invitation of the father, but had there retained the boy against the mother’s will. The mother obtained certain orders in Dubai, but then returned to England. The court should give greater recognition to the judgments of foreign courts and refrain from grandiose assertions of jurisdictions. It was important to build bridges between Judeo Christian and Sharia legal traditions.
Thorpe LJ advised that the court should be ‘extremely circumspect’ and ‘must refrain from exhorbitant jurisdictional claims founded on nationality’ over a child who was neither habitually resident nor present here, because such claims were outdated, eccentric and liable to put at risk the development of understanding and co-operation between nations.


Thorpe, Laws LJJ, Penry-Davey J


Times 02-Mar-2001, [2001] EWCA Civ 186, [2001] 1 FCR 385, [2001] 1 FLR 951




Family Law Act 1986 2, Children Act 1989


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedA v A and another (Children) (Children: Habitual Residence) (Reunite International Child Abduction Centre intervening) SC 9-Sep-2013
Acquisition of Habitual Residence
Habitual residence can in principle be lost and another habitual residence acquired on the same day.
Held: The provisions giving the courts of a member state jurisdiction also apply where there is an alternative jurisdiction in a non-member . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Children, International

Updated: 31 May 2022; Ref: scu.147435