5 Essex Court


21 Feb 20 Back to Listing

Jason Beer QC and Alice Meredith represent West Midlands Police in guideline Court of Appeal Forced Marriage Protection Order case

A “routemap” was today given by the President of the Family Division, sitting in the Court of Appeal, for applications for Forced Marriage Protection Orders, in Re K (Forced Marriage: Passport Order).

The appellant, “K”, was a woman aged 35, who had mental capacity to make decisions with respect to marriage. She had been made the subject of a FMPO contrary to her expressed wishes, after reporting credible threats of forced marriage and murder. Her subsequent application to discharge the FMPO, which included travel restrictions, was refused.

K appealed: Southall Black Sisters and the Secretary of State for Justice intervened.

The Court of Appeal confirmed that, consistent with the submissions of West Midlands Police, the Family Court does have the power to make (i) a FMPO and (ii) a “Passport Order” in appropriate cases where the individual requiring protection is an adult with mental capacity, who contests the FMPO.

At the invitation of the parties, the Court also provided crucial guidance for judges to follow in future cases when considering whether to make an FMPO, setting out a clear “routemap” of four stages to be followed when a court is considering making a FMPO. The Court also addressed (i) the weight to be given to an individual’s “wishes and feelings”, (ii) how to accommodate different Convention rights, and (iii) when an indefinite FMPO and Passport Orders can be imposed.  This guidance will provide invaluable assistance to police forces and courts in future FMPO applications.

A copy of the Judgment can be found here.

Members of 5 Essex Court act in the full range of civil protective orders for the police service, including Forced Marriage Protection Orders, Female Genital Mutilation Protection Orders, Slavery and Trafficking Prevention and Risk Orders, Sexual Harm Prevention and Sexual Risk Orders and others.

Jason Beer QC represents the police service in many of its important cases in the appellate courts.

Alice Meredith has extensive experience of applications for protective orders on behalf of public bodies, including Forced Marriage Protection Orders. Cases she has recently been instructed in have involved issues relating to capacity, cross-border jurisdiction, and the use of the High Court’s inherent jurisdiction. Alice also provides training and talks about FMPOs and other orders.