THE Appeal Court has ruled that English judges cannot intervene in the case of a baby boy whose estranged parents live in the UK and Portugal.

The court heard yesterday that an arrangement was agreed for Baby L to travel between the countries every two months, so that his English mother and Portuguese father, who met in Oxfordshire, could care for him equally.

A Portuguese judge converted the agreement into a court order, to run until the child turned three, while the mother and baby were living in Portugal.

But on returning to the UK, the mother, who is in her early 20s, said she was coerced into accepting the arrangment.

Family court judge Mrs Justice Macur had said she did not consider it to be “in the best interests of an infant to become a shuttlecock during his early and crucial age of emotional development”.

But the Appeal Court ruled that the baby must be returned to Portugal for the courts there to decide what should happen next.