APO v APP

CourtDistrict Court (Singapore)
JudgeBrenda Tan
Judgment Date23 March 2011
Neutral Citation[2011] SGDC 96
Citation[2011] SGDC 96
Publication Date19 April 2011
Docket NumberOSF 318/2010/P; Summons 18409/2010/D: RAS 13/2011
Plaintiff CounselAlfred Dodwell (Advcoatus Law LLP)
Defendant CounselKana (Kana & Co)
District Judge Brenda Tan: Introduction

The Plaintiff (“the father”) and the Defendant (“the mother”) are not married. The father is an ethnic Chinese who holds an xxx passport. The mother is a xxx national. The parties were co-habiting in Singapore and are the natural parents of 2 young children both born in Singapore, a boy aged 5, born on xxx 2005 and a girl aged 3, born on xxx 2007. On or about 12 Oct 2010, the mother suddenly took the children out of Singapore without informing the father. On 27 Oct 2010, the father commenced Originating Summons OSF318/2010/P through his solicitors, M/s Advocatus Law LLP, against the mother for amongst others, joint custody of the children with care and control to the father and reasonable access to the mother. On 28 Oct 2010, the father filed an ex parte summons no. 18409/2010/D for the following interim orders: that the father and mother be granted interim joint custody of the 2 children with care and control to the father and reasonable access to the mother, pending the outcome of the Originating Summons; that the mother and/or her family members, her friends, her agents or servants do return the 2 children to the father in Singapore forthwith; that the mother, whether by herself, her family members, her friends, her agents or servants or howsoever otherwise, be restrained from removing or causing to be removed the 2 children from the custody care and control of the father and/or from the territory and jurisdiction of Singapore without the consent or approval of the court or without the knowledge and/or consent of the father until further order; that the mother surrender all passports and/or travel documents of the 2 children to the father’s solicitors or such other party as the court may direct; that the costs of this application be reserved; that the parties be at liberty to apply and such further or other order as the court may deem fit and just.

The ex parte summons was heard before the learned duty District Judge on an urgent basis on 1 Nov 2010. On 2 Nov 2010, the learned duty District Judge made the following orders: that the father and the mother shall be granted interim joint custody of the children; that the mother shall produce the children to this court on or before 23 Nov 2011 for the purposes of these proceedings involving the question of custody, care and control of and access to the children; that the return date for this summons 18409/2010/D was fixed to be heard on 23 Nov 2010. that upon the production of the children in this court, the mother shall surrender all passports and/or travel documents of the children to the father’s solicitors who will hold them until further order;

The inter parte hearing was held on 30 Nov 2010 before me. Both the father’s counsel, Mr Alfred Dodwell and the mother’s counsel, Mr Kana were present. At the outset of the hearing, Mr Kana informed the court that the mother and children were in xxx and that they had no intention to ever return to Singapore. Through the written submissions of Mr Dodwell, the following facts were brought to the court’s attention. The father had informed the mother via email on 3 Nov 2010 regarding the ex parte Order of Court. On 4 Nov 2010, M/s Kana & Co notified the father’s solicitors that they had been appointed by the mother to act for her in the matter. On 15 Nov 2010 the father conveyed his offer to pay for the mother’s and children’s return flight tickets to Singapore and to settle the matter amicably. On 16 Nov 2010, M/s Kana & Co turned down the father’s offers and stated that the mother had instructed them to defend her in the matter. Mr Kana told the court that his instructions were to contest the matter on point of jurisdiction and that the mother had affirmed an affidavit which was just filed and served the day before. As Mr Kana had been busy preparing the mother’s affidavit, he was not ready with his legal arguments. I therefore adjourned the case to 11 Jan 2011 to allow Mr Kana to make his legal submissions. Pending the next hearing, with immediate effect, I also ordered the mother to grant the father Skype access to the children for at least 4 days in a week, each session to last at least 1 hour and that the arrangements were to be made between the parents via email.

On 11 Jan 2011, Mr Kana tendered skeletal written submissions and Mr Dodwell also tendered skeletal written reply. Mr...

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