In the recent decision of Hsing & Song [2016] FamCA 986 , the family court again illustrated its willingness in appropriate circumstances to order a child to be returned to an overseas jurisdiction, in this case China.
In the case, the court satisfied itself on an interim basis that China was the child’s most recent home and therefore ought be returned, at least on a temporary basis until a more detailed investigation was undertaken.
The court noted that China was not a signatory to the Hague (Child Abduction) Convention and so it found it had relevant jurisdiction to hear the matter because the child was an Australian citizen and also present in Australia when the application was filed – both these facts individually satisfying jurisdiction under section 69E the Family Law Act 1975.
The case is a timely reminder for matters where the facts appear in the first instance to stand against a potential application in Australia, for example the primary carer being resident in China and the country itself not being a signatory to the Hague Convention. Despite these facts, the court still found that the Family Law Act Cth 1975 applied and the Australian courts could intervene to assist.