Press Summary: The Secretary for Justice v J
Supreme Court of New Zealand
16 November 2006
MEDIA RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE PUBLICATION
The Secretary for Justice (as the New Zealand Central Authority on behalf of TJ) v HJ
(SC 36/2006)  NZSC 97
This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment.
The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment and reasons can be found at www.courtsofnz.govt.nz.
The Supreme Court has upheld the decision of the Court of Appeal in this Hague Convention case. Two young children were wrongly removed from Australia to New Zealand by their mother. The father applied for their return to Australia despite the fact they were now settled in New Zealand and his application for their return was made more than 12 months after the wrongful removal. The Family Court ordered return. The High Court upheld that order.
The Court of Appeal set it aside on the basis that the Courts below had not correctly identified or applied the correct principles of law. The Supreme Court, in upholding the decision of the Court of Appeal, has held that, in a case such as the present, what is in the best interests of the children should play a substantial part in deciding whether to order return. As it would not be in their best interests to order return and no feature of the case outweighed that factor, the order for return should not have been made and its quashing by the Court of Appeal was correct.