There have been two recent cases in the High Court involving families who have attempted to leave the UK with young children to take them to war torn Syria to potentially join ISIS
Family 1 – involved four children aged between 14-3. Their mother together with her brother and her mother were detained at a UK airport attempting to board a flight to Turkey. The three adults were arrested and have since been released. The Children were placed in foster care under Emergency Protection Orders. A Finding of Fact Hearing was ordered to determine the mother’s intention by boarding a flight to Turkey.
Family 2- involved four children 11-2, two mothers and a father which were all related. The family travelled from UK to Turkey but were stopped by Turkish authorities close to the border of Syria controlled by ISIS. They were returned to UK where the children were made Wards of Court and placed in foster care. Again, a Finding of Fact Hearing was order to determine the adults’ intentions.
Both families were seeking the return of the children to their care whilst the proceedings continued. Aside from the potential of them being taken to a war zone, there were no other concerns of the parent’s ability to meet the children’s needs.
Because the cases were so similar, they were decided together.
The barristers for the parents put forward proposals, such as the surrender of passports, all airports being put on notice, reporting to police stations and unannounced visits from social workers.
The court found, “The risk that the parents would, if their children were returned to their care, be minded to remove them to Syria was at present unknowable and unquantifiable but potentially very great indeed … a very high degree of assurance was needed albeit falling some way short of absolute certainty, that the protective measures put in place would be effective to thwart (prevent) any attempted flight.”
The court was satisfied that the measures proposed were sufficient to return the children to parental care which the case continued.
Christine Douglas, specialist care proceedings lawyer at Swain & Co Solicitors, says, “When Local Authorities are involved with families and children have been removed or may be removed, our Child Care Solicitors are knowledgeable and competent and negotiate with the Local Authority ways in which children can be protected and still remain/return to their parents care if at all possible.”