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20 MAY 2015

Re M (Wardship) [2015] EWHC 1433 (Fam)

Re M (Wardship) [2015] EWHC 1433 (Fam)
(Sir James Munby, the President of the Family Division, 20May 2015)

[The judicially approved judgment and accompanying headnote has now published in Family Law Reports [2016] 1 FLR 1055]

Public law children – Wardship – Reporting restriction –Children taken abroad reportedly to joint Islamic State in Syria

The full judgment is attached below

Wardship orders were continued in relation to the fourchildren and the reporting restriction order was discharged.

In April 2015 the parents took their four children and leftthe jurisdiction. The wider family reported them missing to the police and itlater transpired that they were in Turkey. They then travelled to Moldovawhere they were detained and the children were apparently subsequently returnedto this jurisdiction.

The local authority initiated wardship proceedings on thebasis that there were reasonable grounds for believing that the family had leftthe UK to Join Islamic Statein Syria.If so, the parents had chosen to expose the children to obvious risk. Anemergency order was granted and the children were made wards of court basedupon their habitual residence here and their British nationality. Unless thecourt made protective orders the children were likely to suffer significantharm.

A reporting restriction order was made to prevent the localauthority plans being leaked to the parents.

When the matter returned in the presence of the parents itfell to be determined whether the wardship and reporting restriction ordersshould be continued.

The paramountcy of the child’s welfare could not be eclipsedby wider considerations of counter terrorism policy or operations but thedecision the court had to make could only be arrived at with an understandingof the wider canvas. In this instance the court had jurisdiction to make theorders and the children’s future welfare demanded imperatively that the courtshould do so. There had been compelling reasons to be believe that thechildren’s welfare would be compromised of the parents had notice of theapplications.

TheRRO would be discharged as once the children were returned to the jurisdictionthere was no continuing reason for it to be maintained. Proceedings wouldcontinue in private.

Neutral Citation Number: [2015] EWHC 1433 (Fam)


Royal Courts of Justice
Strand, London, WC2A 2LL

Date: 20 May 2015

Before :


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In the matter of M (Children)

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Mr John Vater QC (instructed by the Joint Legal Team at Reading Borough Council) for the applicant local authority
Ms Tina Villarosa (instructed by S A Carr & Co Solicitors) for the parents (on 8 May 2015)
 Miss Ciaran Gould (Force Solicitor) for the Thames Valley Police (on 8 May 2015)

Hearing dates: 5, 6 and 8 May 2015

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Approved Judgment

Re M (Children) 

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