13 July 2020
This was an appeal by the secretary of state against a decision of the President of the Family Division concerning the exercise of the family court’s jurisdiction to make a female genital mutilation protection order (FGMPO) under the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 Sch.2 Pt 1 para.1. The child concerned (“A”), was under imminent threat of deportation to Bahrain or potentially Sudan. The original FGM protection order in relation to A was made by Newton J in December 2019. He said that
It is difficult to think of a clear or more serious case where the risk to A of FGM is so high.
Section 2 of the Female Genital Mutliation Act establishes the offence of assisting a girl to mutilate her own genitalia, where a person
aids, abets, counsels or procures a girl to excise, infibulate or otherwise mutilate the whole or any part of her own labia majora, labia minora or clitoris.
Section 3 extends this to “assisting a non-UK person to mutilate overseas a girl’s genitalia”.
FGMPOS offer a legal means to protect and safeguard victims and potential victims of FGM. They are granted by the family court and are unique to each case. They contain conditions to protect a victim or potential victim from FGM, including, for example, surrendering a passport to prevent the person at risk from being taken abroad for FGM or requirements that no one arranges for FGM to be performed on the person being protected.
After the order is issued, the police receive a copy, together with a statement showing that the respondents and any other persons directed by the court have been served with the order or informed of its terms.
In this case the President of the Family Division had held that in exercising its discretion about making an FGM protection order, a family court was not bound to take into account, even as a starting point, a previous assessment of risk of FGM made by the Immigration and Asylum Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal in determining an asylum application based upon the risk of FGM upon return.
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