Rare Lifting of Publicity in Family Proceedings

Cases in family proceedings are invariably held in private, or have very strict reporting restrictions. The main reason for this is to protect and safeguard children from the risk of repercussions were their names or their families’ identities being published.

However in very exceptional cases the Family Court will often remove reporting restrictions if a child’s welfare requires it. Mr Justice Keehan sitting in the High Court in London recently lifted an anonymity order on the case of McKay v Uhd in order for the public to help trace a 3 year old girl, Ruby McKay-Uhd.

Ruby was wrongfully brought to the UK by her mother from Australia in September 2018 where a family judge has ordered her return. Ruby’s father has brought proceedings in the UK. Ruby and her mother (who is a British citizen) are believed to be living in a camper van.

Mr Justice Keehan stated in his judgment: “it is important and necessary for the welfare of this young child, that all possible steps are taken to locate her as soon as possible. “

The case highlights how serious it can be to remove a child from their home country without the other parents’ consent. Both Australia and the UK subscribe to The Hague Convention which enables family court orders to be enforced in other countries who belong to the Convention. The Family Court has a duty to have Ruby McKay-Uhd’s welfare as its paramount concern, so steps like Mr Justice Keehan has taken to name her so she can be found as a matter of urgency come as no surprise.

We are often asked whether clients can take their child out of the country without the other parents’ consent. It is always important to seek legal advice before doing so, as it can be a very complicated area. Feel free to get in touch with our team for advice on 0121 233 2042 or email me on Nikita.dhindsa@greenssolicitors.org