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Mum wants costs paid in abduction proceedings

A WOMAN facing child abduction proceedings has brought a High Court challenge against the Legal Aid Board's refusal to pay her costs of defending the action.

The woman, who cannot be be identified for legal reasons, is facing proceedings brought on behalf of the father of two of her children who is seeking the children's return from Ireland to the UK, where he resides.

That action is brought under the Hague Convention on child abduction. The international treaty developed by the Hague Conference that provides a fast method to return children found to be internationally abducted from one country to another. The action is currently pending before the High Court.

Yesterday the High Court heard that the woman, who is opposing the father's application, applied to the board to have her costs of having a solicitor and barrister act on her behalf.

However, the Legal Aid Board refused the woman's application on the grounds that she has no reasonable grounds of defence. That decision was appealed, but the board's original refusal stood.

Counsel for the woman, Ross Aylward, said his client has a number of legal defences to the claim including that the children are settled in Ireland, that the father's claim was brought more than 12 months after they left the UK, and that the UK courts have no jurisdiction over the children, and that if returned to they would be at risk of psychological injuries.

The judge made the matter returnable to a date later this month.