Relocation, Relocation, Relocation: A Comparative Study of "Leave to Remove" Applications in England and Scotland

AuthorJessica Gray
Dundee Student Law Review, Vol. II, No. 1
Relocation, Relocation, Relocation: A
Comparative Study of ‘Leave to Remove’
Applications in England and Scotland
Jessica Gr ay
A high degree of similarity can be observed between England and Scotland
regarding the statutory rules applied to relocation cases, where one of the
parents wants to relocate and it impacts any child. The drivers of international
relocation are generally similar in terms of cultural, social and economic
conditions. Both jurisdictions consider the welfare of the individual child to be
paramount. Furthermore, regard must be had to the child’s views and both
systems have a no order principle. It is the approach taken by the appellate
courts that divides the two jurisdictions. Traditionally, the English approach
has been very pro-relocation, whereas the Scottish approach has been far more
neutral. A middle ground between the two approaches would appear to be a
viable solution. English law would benefit from moving away from the
decision in the current leading case Payne v Payne1 so as to increase flexibility.
Scots law, on the other hand, might achieve improved consistency and an
increase in amicable dispute resolution by following England’s lead in
introducing mediation and a welfare checklist.
Much of the criticism surrounding the relocation debate focuses on Payne
which derives almost wholly from Poel v Poel.2 In Poel a mother sought
permission to take her three year old child to New Zealand to live with her and
her new husband. The Court considered it should not readily interfere with any

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