A contact order which was previously issued abroad cannot be enforced, the Court of Appeal has confirmed.

The case in question concerned the daughters born to an Estonian father and an English mother.

The couple had married 15 years ago and lived in England until 2008, during which time they had two girls.

They subsequently moved back to Eastern Europe where they lived until the collapse of their marriage around four years ago. At this point the mother returned to England “in secret.”

The father later launched an application for the return of his children under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

In response the mother had alleged that her estranged husband had subjected the children to violence and gone as far as to sexually assault his oldest daughter.

Sitting at the High Court, Mr Justice Roderic Wood ruled against the father and noted that the girls, now aged 12 and 13, did not wish to return to the Baltic.

While proceedings unfolded, the father had applied for contact through the Estonian courts. Following a hearing there, it was ruled that he had a right to see the two girls on a monthly basis, albeit supervised by a third party.

The father had then applied for the order to apply in Britain, but Mr Justice Moylan suggested that the arrangement would not be practically enforceable in the UK.

This prompted the man to take his fight to the Court of Appeal, but now another Judge has upheld the original decision.

Lady Justice Black, who reviewed the case, said: “Enforcing the order would place obligations on the local authority/CAFCASS.

“In my view, that cannot be done unless there is power to do so under the domestic legislation and I have found that there is no such power under the Children Act and that the inherent jurisdiction cannot be used to order an authority to supervise contact.”