Child Abduction

Our Bristol-based child abduction experts deal with international child abduction and cases with an international element. The team is headed by Philippa Morgan, a Resolution-accredited specialist who has a wealth of experience in this field and is a member of the Child Abduction and Contact Unit’s specialist lawyers, as well as being on the Reunite lawyers listing. Philippa was named Legal Expert of the Year 2018 at the CILEx National Awards.

We specialise in acting for people whose children have been wrongfully removed or wrongfully kept away from the place they usually live and can put them in touch with lawyers in the appropriate jurisdiction, if necessary. We also advise people who live abroad whose children have been brought to this country and can assist with international contact matters for people who want to relocate abroad.

We also act for defendants who are faced with an application under the Hague Convention.

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Reunite is the UK’s leading charity for international child abduction. It provides support, advice and information to parents, family members and guardians whose child has been abducted or who fear abduction. Their advice line is: +44 (0) 116 2556 234.

If appropriate, Lyons Davidson will arrange for Reunite to provide a mediation service for the people involved to discuss their concerns with a neutral person, with the aim of reaching an agreement without the need for to go to court. For more information, please get in touch.

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“Philippa Morgan was available whenever I needed her, even during holiday such as Christmas.  I felt that I was her only focus and that gave me a lot of comfort in a very difficult court procedure.”

“You will never know how thankful I am for all the support you and your team have given me, it is greatly appreciated.”


What happens if my child has been taken abroad?

If your child has been wrongfully taken abroad or wrongfully kept there, it is important that there is as little delay as possible. When we are instructed from the International Child Abduction and Contact Unit, we aim to get public funding for you and issue proceedings within 48 hours.

If we are acting for a defendant, it is vital you contact us without delay, as often we have to prepare urgent documents and attend a court hearing.

What does the Hague Convention do?

If the country where the child usually lives has signed the Hague Convention, we can make an urgent application for the return of the child to their home country to the High Court, under the Child Abduction and Custody Act 1985. The court in that country then makes any further decisions about where the child should live and arrangements for contact.

If the country where the child usually lives has not signed the Hague Convention, we can advise on the appropriate course of action to take (including wardship proceedings) and liaise with lawyers abroad with a view to returning the child to this country.

Can I get public funding (legal aid)?

If you have applied for your child to be returned under the Hague Convention, you are automatically entitled to public funding. For all other cases, we can advise you about applying for public funding.

Our Experts

Philippa Morgan

Philippa Morgan

Head of Family Law

Email: [email protected]

Direct Dial: 0117 904 5923

Iona Phillips

Partner/ Deputy Group Leader: Family Law

Email: [email protected]

Direct Dial: 0117 904 5878

Amber Sutton

Family Law Paralegal

Email: [email protected]

Direct Dial: 0117 302 1420

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