Danilina v. Squalli, 2023 ONSC 3133
In Danilina v. Squalli, 2023 ONSC 3133, Farrah Hudani and Carina Chan successfully defended a motion by the Respondent father to terminate the Ontario proceeding for lack of jurisdiction and to set aside orders previously made by the Court after he abducted the parties’ children in 2018. The father had removed the children from Ontario and taken them to the UAE and then to Morocco without the mother’s consent. He subsequently refused to comply with multiple orders made in Ontario and Morocco pursuant to the Hague Convention for the children’s return for the past five years.
Justice Myers dismissed the father’s motion, finding that there was no doubt that the Ontario Court had jurisdiction, that the children were habitually resident here when the father took them, and that the issue was one of forum non conveniens under section 24 of the CLRA. Justice Myers determined that it was premature to decide whether the Court should decline to exercise its jurisdiction as a result of findings and decisions made by the courts in Morocco and the UAE because there was still an ongoing appeal proceeding in Morocco.
Notably, his Honour also expressed concerns about a custody decision that the UAE Court had made in favour of the father, given their summary rejection of the credibility of the mother due solely to her sex and the lack of discussion of the best interests of the children. It was held that if the mother’s appeal in Morocco was not successful, an analysis of whether to recognize and defer to the UAE court decisions pursuant to sections 19, 25 and 41 of the CLRA could become relevant.