International child abduction is a growing problem and a Liverpool law firm is now helping spearhead efforts to deal with the issue.
MSB Solicitors, which has offices in Liverpool city centre, Allerton and Wavertree, has been appointed to the International Child Abduction and Contact Panel by the Official Solicitors Office.
Firm joins elite list
The firm joins just 40 other firms in the UK on the panel – predominantly London-based – and is the only firm in the North West including Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, North Wales and Cheshire.
International child abduction is the illegal removal of children from their home by a parent, acquaintance or family member to a foreign country. As international travel has become more common more people in the UK have formed relationships and had children with people in other countries.
However, when those relationships turn sour bitter custody disputes over the children can ensue and this can lead to cases where a child is abducted and taken to another country.
Call in the experts
MSB has built up considerable expert in such cases. Partner Emma Carey and family solicitor Emma Palmer are both Resolution-accredited specialists in this area.
Solicitor Eve McGowan is on the Law Society’s advanced specialist panel for child abduction, Kirsty Leather has completed a masters of law in international law and Wendy Eves has developed an reputation as a specialist, cross-border mediator.
Ms Carey said: “It really is a very difficult process to even be considered for appointment to the International Child Abduction and Contact Panel and I couldn’t be more proud of the efforts of the team at MSB.
“We have been involved in a number of incoming cases of international child abduction in recent years, which in itself is a feat, as often cases are submitted to solicitors firms already appointed to the panel.
“I was first involved in an international child abduction case eight years ago and I have been resolution accredited for six years – this was an area of law I was interested to develop at MSB.
“I am lucky to be supported by a fantastic team who share my passion and their combined experience and commitment has been pivotal to us securing a place on the panel.”
MSB have spent a number of years taking steps to develop not only their experience, but their resources too – and to develop networks in London and across the country in order to carry out international child abduction work effectively.
Ms Carey added: “Often this type of work is very niche as it is incredibly complex. In many cases solicitors have to act quickly to put measures in place, whether that be to prevent children being removed from the country, or urgent action to establish the return of a child.
It is very emotive, time-consuming work and it has taken us a long time to ensure that we are confident in this area of law and that we have an effective support network.
“Legal aid is available for all child abduction matters, in some cases automatically, regardless of a client’s income or capital.