New Hague Abduction Convention Case before the United States Supreme Court


The Supreme Court on Monday added one new case to its docket for the new Term. Chafin v. Chafin (docket 11-1347) concerns whether an appeal in a Hague Abduction Convention case becomes moot if the child involved has returned to his or her home country. As reported at SCOTUSBlog, this is a very rare mid-Summer order before the first formal Conference on the new Term on September 24. The order is linked here.

The newly granted case involves a U.S. Army sergeant and a Scottish woman he had married while stationed in Germany. The couple later moved to Alabama, and after their divorce, disputed the care of their daughter, who is now five years old. After obtaining a federal court order under the Hague Convention declaring that Scotland was the girl’s country of habitual residence, Mrs. Chafin returned to Scotland with the child. Sgt. Chafin appealed that decision to the Eleventh Circuit, but that court dismissed the case as moot because the child had already returned to Scotland, and was outside the Court’s jurisdiction. The federal appeals courts are split on the mootness issue under the Hague Convention, which led the Supreme Court to grant the case.

Petitioner’s Brief is available HERE.