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(Family Division, Holman J, 8 November 2013)
The three eldest children of the family, aged 17, 15 and 14 lived with their father in the UK, while the youngest child, aged 7 lived with the mother in Pakistan. The mother claimed they had been stranded there by the father. The mother was not a British citizen and had no automatic right to enter or remain in the UK.
Orders had been made in the High Court containing strong requests for the Secretary of State for the Home Department and the Entry Clearance Officer in Islamabad to give urgent and sympathetic consideration to allowing the mother to travel to the UK for a limited period to participate in the proceedings. The mother was refused entry clearance.
The mother sent the youngest child back to the UK to join his siblings when she was faced with the possibility that if he did not return within 2 years, he might be refused entry clearance. All four children now resided with their father in the UK. The mother now sought a continuation of the wardship provisions in place in relation to all four children.
While the judge expressed considerable sympathy for the position of the mother, wardship had now become futile and potentially abusive of the proper boundaries between the Family Division and the Secretary of State in immigration matters. Wardship of all four children was discharged. However, there remained a need for investigation into the circumstances of the children, particularly the youngest child and, therefore, proceedings were transferred to the District Registry pending the preparation of a Cafcass report.
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