Mother battles to stay in UK to protect daughter from FGM
A failed asylum seeker is battling to stay in Britain to protect her daughter from the risk of female genital mutilation.
She is facing expulsion despite a family court judge deciding her nine-year-old child may be subjected to the practice if taken abroad.
Lawyers are now asking a High Court judge to consider the case, which involves Suffolk County Council and is understood to be the first of its kind.
Mr Justice Newton oversaw a preliminary private hearing in the Family Division of London’s High Court today.
The judge said the case raised public interest concerns relating to “tensions” between politicians and the courts, ruling it could be reported by journalists.
Suffolk County Council can be named as the local authority involved, he added.
A judge is expected to stage a trial soon and hear arguments from lawyers representing social services, the woman, the girl and Home Secretary Sajid Javid.
Leading Suffolk County Council’s legal team is barrister James Holmes, who said the case is the first of its kind.
The woman has links to Bahrain and Sudan, he added, and she is worried if she leaves Britain for Bahrain, she will end up being trafficked to Sudan.
Once there, she fears the girl would be subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM).
Mr Holmes said a family court judge concluded the girl would be at risk, and made her the subject of an FGM protection order.
However, officials at the Home office rejected the woman’s asylum application and ordered her removal, he told the court.
She challenged the decision but said that immigration tribunals, and a judge, had rejected her appeals.
Representing Mr Javid, Barrister Claire van Overdijk told Mr Justice Newton the woman will be allowed to stay in the UK for the next few weeks.