Louise McCallum and Chloe Branton, Parklane Plowden Chambers
The devastating effects of forced marriage and FGM are well recognised by the family courts, along with the established legal mechanisms for protection. Recent case law, in particular Re K (Forced Marriage: Passport Order)  EWCA Civ 190 has set out an invaluable ‘routemap to judgment’ for practitioners in this area. This followed, and was informed by, crucial guidance on the importance of assessing risk as reiterated in the latest FGM case law, including Re X (A Child) (Female Genital Mutilation Protection Order)  EWCA Civ 182.
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought unique challenges to identification of the risk of forced marriage and FGM, the court’s assessment of risk in any proceedings brought, and determination of restrictions and terms to be imposed.
In this article we outline recent legal developments in the areas of forced marriage and FGM but also reflect on the impact of lockdown on both prevalence and protection from these abuses. Consideration is also given to the post-Covid era and the Court’s renewed approach to such applications in light of recent developments.