Avellum has successfully represented a UK citizen in Ukraine's Supreme Court in a dispute regarding the return of a wrongfully retained child.
The Ukrainian Supreme Court provided the first-ever clarification on the procedure for dispute resolution related to international child abduction, the application of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction of 25 October 1980, and the interpretation of criteria for refusing to return a child to his or her state of permanent residence.
According to Avellum, “the judgment of the Supreme Court will bring a new approach to dispute resolution related to international child abduction and will become judicial precedent in Ukraine.”
The Ministry of Justice of Ukraine first filed a claim in early 2013, and since that time the case has bounced repeatedly between Ukrainian courts of all instances, including the country's Supreme Court.
Avellum filed a cassation appeal and a request seeking the renewal of the term of cassation appeal on behalf of its client with the High Specialized Court for Civil and Criminal Cases in early 2017. However, due to the country's ongoing process of judicial reform, the Supreme Court did not make its final decision until late August 2018.
When it did, according to Avellum, "the Supreme Court ... rightfully held that the primary focus of the above 1980 Convention is that one parent or family member cannot independently decide to change the child’s place of permanent residence. The Court also noted that the child’s place of permanent residence is of major importance in restoring the status quo, since the illegal removal or retention of the child violates the child’s rights and interests, as well as the right (custody right) of the parent without whose consent the child was taken from the country of habitual residence."
Finally, according to Avellum, the Supreme Court also emphasized that when considering the issue of returning a child to the home state, it does not address or decide which person will have custody rights, which instead falls within the jurisdiction of competent authorities of the child’s country of permanent residence.
Avellum’s team was led by Associate Oleksandr Gubin, working under the supervision of Partner Iryna Moroz.