Tower Hamlets v M and Others: FD 27 Mar 2015

The authority sought orders to prevent the respondent children travelling to countries controlled by the ISIS groups. The parents being unlikely to be effective to restrain them, the court had made them wards of court.
Held: ‘the status of a Ward of the High Court of England and Wales has achieved international recognition. For this reason, and because it vests parental responsibility solely in the High Court, it is particularly apposite in circumstances such as those contemplated here. All the major decisions relating to such children for the period of the operation of the wardship require the approval of the High Court.’ Orders had been made, the court emphasising the detail of the steps to be taken by local authorities in such cases. The first application here had fallen short of the standards required, and ‘I have concluded that the Local Authority consciously misrepresented the extent of the police awareness of this application. I do not reach that conclusion lightly. It is for this reason that I have felt it necessary to restate that which, to my mind, ought properly to be instinctive to every professional in this field, that is to say the very high degree of candour required in applications of this kind.’
Additionally the court had been re-assured that a lost passport had expired. In fact that was not the case. Moreover the police though discovering this had not informed social services.
Hayden J concluded: ‘the conventional safeguarding principles will still afford the best protection. Once again, this court finds it necessary to reiterate that only open dialogue, appropriate sharing of information, mutual respect for the differing roles involved and inter-agency cooperation is going to provide the kind of protection that I am satisfied that the children subject to these applications truly require.’
and . . ‘in this particular process it is the interest of the individual child that is paramount. This cannot be eclipsed by wider considerations of counter terrorism policy or operations.’

Hayden J
[2015 EWHC 869 (Fam), [2016] 1 All ER 182, [2015] 3 FCR 399, [2015] WLR(D) 155, [2015] Fam Law 650, [2015] 2 FLR 1431, [2015] PTSR D30
Bailii, WLRD
Children Act 1989 31(ii)
England and Wales
CitedIn Re A-K (Minors)(Foreign Passport: Jurisdiction) CA 18-Feb-1997
A family court has power to require the surrender of a foreign passport to solicitors. . .
CitedRe W (ex-parte orders) FD 2000
The circumstances in which ex parte relief is obtained in the Family Division are likely to vary very widely. Moreover, relief is often granted by the Division in circumstances which are very much removed from those in which ex parte relief will be . .
CitedKelly (A Minor) v British Broadcasting Corporation FD 25-Jul-2000
K, aged 16, had left home to join what was said to be a religious sect. His whereabouts were unknown. He had been made a ward of court and the Official Solicitor was appointed to represent his interests. He had sent messages to say that he was well . .
CitedIn re S (A Child) (Family Division: Without Notice Orders) FD 2001
Munby J considered the the duty of full and frank disclosure which exists on those who seek to use a without notice procedure within Children proceedings. Generally, when granting ex parte injunctive relief in the Family Division, the court will . .

Cited by:
CitedRe A Ward of Court FD 4-May-2017
Ward has no extra privilege from Police Interview
The court considered the need to apply to court in respect of the care of a ward of the court when the Security services needed to investigate possible terrorist involvement of her and of her contacts. Application was made for a declaration as to . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Children, Litigation Practice, News

Updated: 10 November 2021; Ref: scu.545017