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17 MAR 2009

FAMILY PROCEEDINGS: Re A (Family Proceedings: Electronic Tagging)

(Family Division; Parker J; 17 March 2009)

The mother had twice abducted the child to the mother's country of origin. The child had been returned pursuant to the Hague Convention, and was now in the father's care. The mother sought an interim order allowing the child to spend substantial periods of time with the mother. The father feared that without safeguards the mother might remove the child again. Eventually the parents agreed that when the child was with the mother, the mother should, on an interim basis, be subject to curfew supported by electronic tagging.

Because the availability of tagging arrangements in family proceedings was not widely known, the court described them for the assistance of the profession. Since the decision in Re C (Abduction: Interim Directions: Accommodation by Local Authority) [2003] EWHC 3065 (Fam), [2004] 1 FLR 653, which set out the principle that electronic tagging could be used in family proceedings, the President's Office had devised a procedure for arranging electronic tagging through the Tagging Team of the National Office for the Management of Offenders. Orders were to be made and sealed by 3.30 pm on the day before implementation, and must contain: the full name of the person to be tagged; the full address of the place of curfew; the date and time for the installation of the monitoring device; a schedule of times at which the person was expected to be home, so that the service could monitor compliance; the start date of the curfew and, if known, the end date of the curfew, the days on which the curfew operated and the curfew hours each day; and the name and contact details of the relevant officer to whom the service should report if there was any breach of the schedule or if the person appeared to have removed the tag.

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