Mr Zoltowski is a Polish-Australian who moved to Australia with his wife and their 2-year-old son in 2006. After nearly 3 years, the family returned to Poland, with the intention of permanent relocation. However, Mrs Zoltowski soon changed her mind and took the boy to Australia without his father’s knowledge or consent. The couple divorced, with Polish courts granting sole custody of the child to his father, and the Family Court of Western Australia later granting sole custody to his mother.
Mr Zoltowski applied under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction for the return of his son to Poland and for access and custody. The WA Family Court granted Mr Zoltowski supervised access to his son in Australia, two-and-a-half years after he had first applied.
In 2015, the UN Human Rights Committee found that Australia’s failure to guarantee personal relations and regular contact between Mr Zoltowski and his son constituted arbitrary interference with family life and a violation of the right of families and children to protection (ICCPR articles 17, 23 & 24). Also, Australia’s failure to deal expeditiously with Mr Zoltowski’s custody and access applications amount to a violation of his rights concerning fair hearings (art 14).