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Costs of recovery

The Full Court determined that s 117AA(3) of the Family Law Act 1975 did not permit an order for expenses to be made against the state Central Authority as it was the mother, not the state Central Authority, who wrongfully retained the child.

The issue of payment of costs of recovery proceedings was explored by the Full Court in the case of In Re F: (Hague Convention: Claim for Expenses) (2007) FLC ¶93-335.

The father appealed against an order dismissing his application that the Director General, Department of Community Services NSW, as the state Central Authority, pay his costs and expenses of approximately $33,000 he incurred in travelling to Australia from the United States of America to collect the child who had been wrongfully retained by the mother in Australia.

The Full Court determined that s 117AA(3) of the Family Law Act 1975 did not permit an order for expenses to be made against the state Central Authority as it was the mother, not the state Central Authority, who wrongfully retained the child.

In dismissing the appeal, their Honours noted that it may be open to the father to obtain financial compensation by making a claim against the mother under s 117AA(3) or by making a claim in tort against the state Central Authority in relation to its failure to ensure the return of the child.


Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
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