General Legal Advice on International Child Abduction:
Unmarried fathers who do not have any automatic rights of custody and guardianship are somewhat vulnerable in the Irish context. Recent case law held that the removal of a child in the absence of the consent of an unmarried father (who had not been appointed guardian) is not a wrongful removal as a breach of ‘rights of custody’ had not occurred. Another case found that where the unmarried father had applied to the courts for guardianship and/or access, the court itself has ‘rights of custody’. See CM v Delegacion de Malaga  21R 363; In re J (A Minor) (Abduction)  2AC 562; In re H (Abduction: Custody Rights)  2AC 476; R v R  IESC 7 and AS v MS (child abduction)  IR 341; A.BU v J.BE  IEHC 77; AU v TNU  IESC 39 which refers to Baroness Hale’s decision in Re D (A Child) (Abduction: Rights of Custody)  IAC 619, ‘there is now a growing understanding of the importance of listening to the children involved in children’s cases’. Also see MN and RN  IEHC 382 where Finlay Geoghegan J. states: ‘A mandatory positive obligation is placed on a court by Article 11(2) to provide a child with an opportunity to be heard, subject only to the exception where this appears inappropriate having regard to his or her age or degree of maturity’. (Follows Re F  EWCA Civ 468). Also see JMcB and LE  IEHC 123.