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Family Law

The leading authority on all aspects of family law

12 MAY 2016

Re E (Female Genital Mutilation) [2016] EWHC 1052 (Fam)

Re E (Female Genital Mutilation) [2016] EWHC 1052 (Fam)
(Family Division, MacDonald J, 22 April 2016)

Public law children – Female genital mutilation - Application to permanently relocate to Nigeria

The father was granted permission to permanently remove the children and relocate to Nigeria.

The Nigerian mother and father were married in Nigeria in 2001. The mother alleged that it was a forced marriage and that, prior to the marriage, the father's family forced her to undergo Type II female genital mutilation whereby her clitoris and labia were removed. She further submitted that the father had been sexually and physically abusive towards her and that he had beaten their three children.

In 2015 the mother secured a without notice female genital mutilation protection order on the basis of her assertions that the father was planning to kidnap the children and take them to Nigeria in order for two of them to undergo FGM. Since then the mother had prevented contact between the father and children.

Her application for leave to remain in the UK was rejected and her subsequent marriage to a Lithuanian national was found to be a sham. She thereafter applied for asylum on the basis of a risk of FGM to the children. The local authority became involved when one of the children was found wandering the streets. There was a suggestion, disputed by the mother, that she had been engaged in prostitution.

The father now applied under s 1(3) of the Children Act 1989 for permission to remove the three children to Nigeria.

Having considered the evidence the judge concluded that the mother fundamentally and dishonestly misrepresented the true position and it was more likely than not that she did so as part of an immigration scam.

Examination by a consultant in sexual and reproductive health revealed that the mother had been subjected to Type I FGM involving removal of the clitoris but not the labia. The father asserted that this had taken place during the mother's infancy by her own family in accordance with custom. Further investigation of the circumstances of the parents' marriage revealed that it had not been forced.

The father, who was a member of the Delta Igbo people, submitted that FGM was no longer practiced by these people and in any event never practiced it on older children. He had made arrangements for the care of the children in Nigeria involving the wider family and an employed nanny. Parenting assessments of him were positive.

The judge concluded that there was no appreciable risk of the children being subjected to FGM and the FGM order was, therefore, discharged. FGM was now illegal in Nigeria and the court was satisfied that the mother had lied about her experiences of FGM at the hands of the paternal family.

The father was granted permission to remove the children to Nigeria. It was undoubtedly in the best interests of the three children for them to relocate permanently to Nigeria. There were grave doubts about the mother's ability to meet the children's needs and she had thus far failed to prioritise their physical, emotional and educational needs.

Case No: FD15FO7001
Neutral Citation Number: [2016] EWHC 1052 (Fam)

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE
FAMILY DIVISION

Royal Courts of Justice
Strand
London
WC2A 2LL

Date: 22/04/2016


Before:

MR JUSTICE MACDONALD

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Between:

CE
Applicant

- and -

NE
Respondent

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Transcribed by BEVERLEY F. NUNNERY & CO. (a trading name of Opus 2 International Limited)
Official Court Reporters and Audio Transcribers
25 Southampton Buildings, London WC2A 1AL
Tel: 020 7831 5627 Fax: 020 7831 7737
info@beverleynunnery.com

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Ms Clark (instructed by Hudgell & Partners Solicitors) for the Applicant
The Respondent appeared in person
Mr Jenkins (instructed by the London Borough of Greenwich) for the Local Authority

Hearing dates: 18, 19, 20 and 22 April 2016

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Re E (Female Genital Mutilation) [2016] EWHC 1052 (Fam)

Judgment
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