In April 2018 (in a judgment at  EWFC 26) Mostyn J had refused an application by a mother, Ganna Tigipko, for permission to relocate two young children by the father, RJ, to live with her in the Ukraine.
During a subsequent mediation the parties agreed that the mother would have permission to take the children to the Ukraine for the purposes of a summer holiday in July 2018. The mother agreed that she should put up the sum of £1million as security for the father’s legal costs and the incidental expenses of legal proceedings in the event that the mother failed to return the children.
The day before the mother was due to return the children from Ukraine she texted the father to inform him that her father (i.e. the maternal grandfather) had applied to a court in Ukraine for an injunction preventing the children from leaving Ukraine. The father’s solicitors were then informed that the mother’s new husband had also made an application to the Ukrainian court concerning the children, but that this had been dismissed. It soon transpired that the maternal grandfather’s application to the Ukrainian court had also been dismissed.
Upon being told that the mother was refusing to bring the children back to England, Mostyn J made an order for the immediate return of the children and for the transfer of the £1million surety to the father’s solicitors pending the return of the children. Despite this the mother still did not return, and the children continued to reside with her in Ukraine.
The father made an application in Ukraine for the return of the children under the Hague Convention, but the application did not have a ‘promising start’. The father feared that the Hague proceedings would take months if not years to be concluded.
The father also referred the conduct of the mother and maternal grandfather’s to the police, who continued to investigate the matter.
In September 2018, the father applied for permission to identify the maternal grandfather as being involved in these proceedings. The application was for the relaxation of statutory reporting restrictions imposed by section 12 of the Administration of Justice Act 1960. It was not proposed that the children be named but the information proposed to be released would be capable of identifying them. The father therefore also made an inferential application to identify the children under section 97(4) of the Children Act 1989.
The father contended that identifying the mother and maternal grandfather would encourage the mother to bring the children back to this jurisdiction. He claimed that the maternal grandfather would be sensitive to the prospect of being named and shamed. The maternal grandfather is the former Vice-President of the Ukraine and a prominent businessman and, said the father, someone who is highly sensitive to any suggestion to publicity surrounding his alleged involvement in child abduction.
The court appointed a children’s guardian, funded out of the £1million surety, to visit the children in Ukraine and report upon whether publicity was in the best interests of the children.