Suffolk social services involved in asylum battle

31 December 2018, 07:15 | Updated: 31 December 2018, 07:23

High Court London

Social services in Suffolk have been caught up in a legal battle over the future of an asylum seeker.

The woman is facing expulsion from Britain, even though a family court judge has decided that her nine-year-old daughter could be subjected to female genital mutilation if taken abroad, and is now waiting for a senior judge to make decisions about her future.

Detail of the case emerged recently following a preliminary hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London.

Lawyers involved say a senior judge is scheduled to analyse evidence at a High Court trial in London in late January.

Mr Justice Newton oversaw a preliminary in October and heard that the case was the first of its kind.

The judge said the case raised public interest issues relating to "tensions" between politicians and the courts.

He said the trial judge might give guidance on how such issues should be resolved if they arose again.

Lawyers representing Suffolk County Council social services bosses - who have welfare responsibility for the girl - the woman, and Home Secretary Sajid Javid are involved.

Barrister James Holmes, who led Suffolk Council's legal team, had told Mr Justice Newton that the case was the first of its kind.

He said the woman had links to Bahrain and Sudan.

She feared that if she leaves Britain for Bahrain, she will end up being trafficked to Sudan, where her daughter would be subjected to FGM.

Mr Holmes said a family court judge had concluded that the girl would be at risk and made her the subject of an FGM protection order.

But Home Office officials had rejected the woman's asylum application and ordered her removal.

She had challenged that removal decision but immigration tribunals, and a judge, had rejected her appeals.