Two families suspected of attempting to travel abroad to join extremist jihadi group Isis should be allowed to keep their children, the High Court has ruled.
In a recently published judgment, President of the Family Division Sir James Munby ruled on two similar cases of families who had been detained earlier this year. Both families had been stopped at airports after security officials were concerned that they were attempting to move to Syria so they could “take up arms with ISIS militants”.
Social services subsequently took the children of those families into care as a protective measure. The local authority in one of the cases described the mother as “a radical fundamentalist with links and contacts with ISIS militants”, although she denied the accusation.
In both cases, the parents agreed to a number of measures designed to restrict their movement. These included living at a certain address, “unannounced visits by the local authority, regular reporting to a specified police station” and electronic tagging to track their movements.
Sir James said that the risk of the two sets of parents attempting to take their children to Syria was “unknowable and unquantifiable but potentially very great indeed”. However, he said that the restrictions they agreed to provided a “very high degree of assurance” that they would not undertake such an action.
Once the protective measures were in place, the risk of an attempt to flee the country was “so small that it is counter-balanced by the children’s welfare needs to be returned to parental care”, Sir James ruled. He concluded that measures should be put in place which would “enable the relevant local authority to remove the children in an emergency”.
To read the President’s full judgment, click here.