Thomasset v Thomasset: CA 1894

The machinery of enforcement of payment of maintenance was laid down in the Poor Laws: ‘As regards maintenance, the parents’ obligations were measured both at law and in equity by the Poor Laws’.
After quoting Coleridge J in Greenhill, Lindley LJ continued: ‘The age at which a child is deemed to have a discretion is 14 in the case of a boy, and 16 in the case of a girl . . After a child has attained the age of discretion, a Court of Common Law will set it free if illegally detained, but will not force a child against his or her will to remain with his or her father or legal guardian . .’ and ‘I do not say that a child who has attained years of discretion can, except under very special circumstances, be properly ordered into the custody of either parent against such child’s own wishes.’
Lopes LJ said: ‘No doubt a writ of habeas corpus could not go to compel a child over the age of 16 to return to the custody of the parent when such child was unwilling to submit to such custody . . ‘


Lindley LJ , Lopes LJ


[1894] P 295


England and Wales


CitedRex v Greenhill 29-Jan-1836
The children were all under six years of age and were with their mother. Their father obtained an order for them to be delivered up to him and their mother applied for that to be set aside.
Held: She was unsuccessful, a father being entitled . .

Cited by:

CitedIn re D (A Child) SC 26-Sep-2019
D, a young adult had a mild learning disability and other more serious conditions. He was taken into a hospital providing mental health services. The external door was locked, and a declaration was sought to permit this deprivation of his liberty, . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Child Support, Children

Leading Case

Updated: 19 April 2022; Ref: scu.228603