Judge Richard Posner’s recent opinion in Khan v. Fatima considers the obligations of a trial court judge under Fed.R.Civ.P. 52(a)(1) to make findings of fact in a Hague return proceeding.  The Seventh Circuit reversed and remanded the return order in a case in which the district court judge held a one-day evidentiary hearing and ordered return without making findings concerning allegations that return would expose the child to a grave risk of harm.  Judge William Bauer joined the opinion, but Judge David Hamilton dissented, noting the importance of making prompt decisions  in cases under the Convention and suggesting that the more appropriate course was to “allow the Canadian courts to do their difficult job in dealing with this child and her family.”

This opinion wrestles with important procudural  questions under the Convention – which are not addressed in either the Convention itself or in the implementing legislation in the United States — and the  persistent problem of how courts should evaluate evidence of domestic violence  in 13(b) cases.  Judge Posner has previously addressed the domestic violence problem in Van de Sande v. Van de Sande, 431 F.3d 567 (2005), and he cited that opinion in the Khan decision.  (This makes at least fouropinions for Judge Posner in Hague cases.  See also Kijowska v. Haines, 463 F.3d 583 (2006) and Altamiranda Vale v. Avila, 538 F.3d 581 (2008).)