The first lecture of the FLBA’s 2017 autumn lecture series took place on 21 September 2017 and was titled “Female Genital Mutilation and Breast Ironing in the Context of Evolving Jurisprudence.” The speakers were Nkumbe Ekaney QC, of 1 Garden Court, and Charlotte Proudman, of Goldsmith Chambers.
The lecture was pitched to a broad audience, commencing with an overview of the practice and prevalence of FGM – both internationally and in England and Wales – as well as an explanation of the different practices, their consequences, their rationale and the expanding criminal legislation under the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 and Serious Crime Act 2015.
Targeted to the FLBA audience present were the parts of the seminar devoted to FGM Protection Orders and case-law in the family jurisdiction, in particular B and G (Children) (No 2)  EWFC 3, in which the President determined that FGM constitutes “significant harm” for the purposes of s. 31(2) of the Children Act 1989, but that it is not in itself determinative either of the second “reasonableness” limb of that provision or for the purposes of the welfare assessment following the establishment of threshold. Mr Ekaney QC, leading counsel for the father in B and G, gave a detailed overview of the expert evidence and findings in that case.
The lecture ended with an introduction to the lesser-known practice of “breast ironing”, its prevalence, motives, perpetrators and medical impact, before considering the legal remedies available in cases where the practice has been carried out.
The seminar was well-received with considerable interest from the FLBA members in attendance.
Charlotte is a specialist in international children cases including child abduction, FGM, forced marriage and honour-based violence and successfully defended her doctoral dissertation in FGM law in Spring 2017 at the University of Cambridge.
Victoria Wilson, the head of the Family Team at Goldsmith Chambers, is a key organiser in the FLBA’s successful annual autumn lecture series.