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Case Commentary: Tann v. Bennett, 648 F. App’x 146 (2d Cir. 2016)

James D. Garbolino
April 21, 2017
Available Online Only

Child’s Objection to Return

This case deals with whether the in camera testimony of a thirteen-year-old boy can sustain the child’s objection to return.


Mother petitioned for the return of her thirteen-year-old son to Northern Ireland. The district court conducted an in camera interview of the child and concluded that the child was “‘very intelligent and decent” and that the child’s “desire to remain in New York should be respected.’”[1] The young man also testified that he did not always feel safe in Northern Ireland, would feel badly if ordered to be returned, and might hurt himself or others if he were forced to return.


The Second Circuit affirmed, holding that the district court’s findings of fact implied that the child was sufficiently mature to object to return. When the findings of the trial court rely upon personal observations of the child, its determinations are entitled to considerable deference.[2] The circuit court reiterated that a court “‘may refuse repatriation solely on the basis of a considered objection to returning by a sufficiently mature child.’”[3]

[1]. Tann v. Bennett, 648 F. App’x 146, 149 (2d Cir. 2016) (unpublished opinion) (citing Tann v. Bennett, No. 1:13-cv-00823 (JJM) (W.D.N.Y. Nov. 24, 2014), ECF No. 55).
[2]. Tann, 648 F. App’x at 149 (citing Blondin v. Dubois (Blondin II), 238 F.3d 153, 167 (2nd Cir. 2011)).
[3]. Id. (citing Blondin II, 238 F.3d at 167).

This document is part of The 1980 Hague Convention on International Child Abduction: A Resource for Judges, a Special Topic Webpage.