18th Jul 2018
Dr Charlotte Proudman
, barrister and expert in female genital mutilation (FGM) represented the parents of two girls at risk of being cut in Nigeria by family members at an ex-parte FGM Protection Order (FGMPO) hearing.
Holman J gave guidance in BA & Anor v JA & Ors (female genital mutilation protection orders and immigration appeals)  EWHC 1754 (Fam)
as to when FGMPOs should be applied for in circumstances where there are ongoing immigration proceedings. Where there is a risk of FGM in another jurisdiction only
and there are competing immigration proceedings, family courts shall decline to make FGMPOs until immigration proceedings have concluded. It is not for the family courts to intervene in decisions that shall be taken by the immigration tribunals. Moreover, there is no “immediate” risk of FGM in cases where the risk is present overseas and there is no foreseeable risk of the children residing overseas.
Only when immigration appeal rights have been exhausted and the Secretary of State for Home Department has issued removal directions, can an FGMPO be considered by the family courts. However, this will give rise to (a) complex issues of extraterritoriality; and (b) questions regarding how the family courts will approach findings of immigration tribunals and/or the Secretary of State for Home Department that there is no risk of FGM upon return.