Ava, her husband and daughter moved to Portugal from the UK when their child was young. Ava’s husband got involved with drugs, became financially and psychologically controlling and Ava had to work three jobs to support the family. After enduring years of abuse, Ava returned to visit her mother in the UK and remained with her while she sought treatment for anxiety. She was declared medically unfit to work or return to Portugal. Ava’s husband started proceedings under the Hague Convention in both the UK and Portuguese courts, demanding that his child be returned to live with him.

At the last minute, Advocate found a barrister to represent Ava at a short hearing and he kindly agreed to continue to represent her further at the final hearing, two months later. Ava was willing to offer contact with her husband in the UK but argued that if their child were forced to return to Portugal, she would have to go too and they would both be exposed to further harm. Crucially, Ava’s child did not want to go and live in Portugal and had settled happily back in the UK.

Ava’s barrister was able to convince the judge to dismiss the request to return the child and let mother and child remain together in the UK. The judge said that the child’s return would be “intolerable” and result in “grave psychological harm”. Her barrister said:

"Ava was in tears of joy and relief when she won.”

Ava said:

"I would like to extend a massive thank you, without your help mine and my child's life would've been devastatingly different. Your services saved me. I can't thank you enough."