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Family Law

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03 FEB 2016

London Borough of Camden v RZ and Others [2015] EWHC 3751 (Fam)

London Borough of Camden v RZ and Others [2015] EWHC 3751 (Fam)

(Family Division, MacDonald J, 18 December 2015)

Public law children – Forced marriage protection orders – Local authority application for interim care order – Whether the children were at risk of significant harm

The local authority application for interim care orders in respect of two children who had been made subject to a forced marriage protection order was refused.

The two Afghan children, aged 10 and 6, were taken into police protection after a forced marriage protection order was served on the father. Allegations had come to light that the father intended to take the older child to Afghanistan to marry her 18-year-old cousin. He mother who was in Afghanistan also asserted inter alia that the father had subjected her to domestic violence and left her stranded in Afghanistan.

The local authority applied for interim care orders primarily on the basis of a risk of removal for the purposes of forced marriage but also cited the allegations made by the mother. It was submitted that the risk of abduction was so high, and the consequences of that risk becoming manifest so grave, that a forced marriage protection order was not sufficient protection.

MacDonald J recited the law in relation to interim care orders and reiterated that an interim care order could only be made where the court was satisfied that the children were suffering or were likely to suffer significant harm attributable to the care given to them, or likely to be given to them if an order were not made. In the interim, removal must be proportionate to the risk of harm the children would be exposed to. Removal itself constituted a serious interference with the Art 8 right to respect for family life of the family enshrined by the European Convention.

The judge was satisfied on the evidence that there was an elevated risk of removal of the older child from the jurisdiction for the purposes of forced marriage. However, the pre-existing forced marriage protection order sufficiently protected the child against the risk.

The application was refused. MacDonald J was not satisfied that there were reasonable grounds for believing that the children were suffering or likely to suffer significant harm attributable to the care given to them or likely to be given to them by the father.

Case No: ZC15C00492
Neutral Citation Number: [2015] EWHC 3751 (Fam)

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE
FAMILY DIVISION

Royal Courts of Justice
Strand
London
WC2A 2LL

Date: 18/12/2015

Before:

THE HONOURABLE MR JUSTICE MACDONALD

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Between:London Borough of Camden
Applicant

- and -

RZ
First Respondent
- and -
HZ
Second Respondent
- and -
DZ and SZ (by their Children’s Guardian Cynthia Tobierre)
Third and Fourth Respondent

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Ms Mai-Ling Savage (instructed by Legal Services) appeared on behalf of the Applicant
Dr Rob George (instructed by Dawson Cornwell) appeared on behalf of the First Respondent
Ms Kristina Hopper (instructed by Williams & Co) appeared on behalf of the Second Respondent
Ms Barbara Hopkins (Solicitor, Hopkin, Murray, Berskine) appeared on behalf of the Third and Fourth Respondents
Ms Carter-Manning (instructed by the Attorney General) appeared as Special Advocate for the Second Respondent at the commencement of the hearing and was thereafter released

Hearing dates: 9 and 10 December 2015

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London Borough of Camden v RZ and Others [2015] EWHC 3751 (Fam)

Judgment

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