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Judge tags families with suspected ISIS links over fears about children

Adult members of two families must be electronically tagged due to fears they could move their children to areas controlled by Islamic State, a senior judge has ruled.

Sir James Munby, President of the High Court Family Division, made the unprecedented decision to fit the parents with tags to provide a “very high degree of assurance” for the children’s safety.

Earlier this year, Sir James ordered the return of the children to their parents after concerns that the families were moving to ISIS-controlled areas of Syria prompted social services to take them into protective care.

Munby called for a number of protective measures that would make the risk of flight “so small that it is counter-balanced by the children’s welfare needs to be returned to parental care”.

However, he delayed the order for electronic tagging amid concerns from the Ministry of Justice that it would be the first measure of its kind.

After consideration, Sir James confirmed that radio frequency tagging should be implemented immediately until a more secure system of GPS tagging could be started in two weeks’ time.

Although the judge believed his measures would “enable the relevant local authority to remove the children in an emergency”, the local authorities involved have decided that they are unable to effectively manage the children.  As a result, the children are now wards of the court.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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