After Ava moved abroad with her husband and young daughter, her husband became psychologically controlling and abusive. Finally, after several years of suffering from poor physical and mental health as a result, Ava returned to England with her daughter. She was declared medically unfit to work or to return to her former home abroad.
Ava’s husband started Hague Convention proceedings against her, accusing her of child abduction and demanding that their child return to live with him. Ava said: “I had no knowledge of the Hague Convention. I didn’t know such a law existed. I was served notice and I didn’t know what it was or what it entailed. I’d never even been to court before.”
Without the funds to pay for representation, and ineligible for legal aid, Ava could see no option but to represent herself, until she was put in touch with pro bono charity Advocate, through which barrister Robin Powell agreed to assist.
At the final hearing the Court decided that Ava and her daughter would remain in the UK. Ava was in disbelief: “I told Robin, I don’t know what you say to somebody who’s saved your life, because he truly had. I can’t believe he did that for me, for nothing. Robin is a perfect example of what British law should be about.”