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24 Mar 2022

Princess Haya divorce: Stripping Sheikh Mohammed of all parental responsibility is extremely rare action taken by courts

Today’s ruling that Sheikh Mohammed, the ruler of Dubai, will be stripped of his parental responsibility to make key decisions in respect of his two children, is an extraordinarily severe action for the Family Court to take, says Boodle Hatfield, a leading private wealth law firm.

The ruling means Sheikh Mohammed will have no say as to where his children with Princess Haya are educated or which religion they practise. He will also not be able to give consent for them to receive urgent medical treatment.

The Sheikh has been involved in an unusually high profile and acrimonious divorce with his ex-wife, Princess Haya for the past three years.

Harriet Errington, Partner at Boodle Hatfield says: “The extraordinary step to strip a father of such key parental rights cannot be underestimated.”

“A parent being denied the right of access to their children does happen with relative frequency. In contrast, this measure is extremely rare, particularly given it was accepted that Sheikh Mohammed was a loving parent enjoying continued indirect contact with the children and expressing a clear desire to continue to be involved in the important aspects of their welfare.”

“Today’s ruling acknowledges the extremely difficult circumstances of Princess Haya’s life since her separation from Sheikh Mohammed and the extreme impact of his “remorseless and unremitting behaviour” against the princess.”

“The court’s conclusion was, astonishingly, that “the co-parenting relationship between these two intelligent and valuable parents is entirely bankrupt“.  Such statement demonstrates the exceptional circumstances of this case and it is difficult to envisage a more extreme statement in respect of any co-parenting relationship.”

Family Associate, Pippa Cook goes on to say that: “There is nothing to suggest that the children were themselves direct victims of domestic abuse. However, the court ruled that “the sustained, attritional…abusive behaviour…has had a profound impact” on the princess which in turn had been immensely harmful to the children. This factor had a crucial impact on the court’s judgment.