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Re Y (Children) (No 3) [2016] EWHC 503 (Fam)

Date:5 APR 2016
Third slide
Law Reporter
(Family Division, Sir James Munby P, 5 April 2016)

Public law children – Radicalisation – Fact-finding – Motivation for travel – Whether there was evidence of an ideological belief system

The President made findings in respect of a family detained by Turkish authorities on the Syrian border.

In two joined cases involving four children from two different sibling groups, the children were made wards of court and returned to the UK after the family was detained by Turkish authorities close to the ISIS-controlled Syrian border. They were initially placed in foster care before being returned to the parents. During care proceedings a fact-finding hearing was scheduled to determine whether it was the children’s parents’ respective intentions to go to a war zone in Syria controlled by ISIS.

The President found that there was no cogent evidence of ideological motivation. The local authority had wholly failed to make its case that any of the adults were adherent to, a supporter of or subject to any ideological belief system which could possibly explain a desire to relocate to Syria. There was no evidence that the loving and devoted parents would be motivated to expose their children to the realities of life in Syria.

The local authority had proved that the area in which the family was detained by the Turkish authorities was within a zone of military control near the border with Syria. The President had not been persuaded that the adults had given a reliable and truthful account as to what they were doing in such an area. Their accounts of the relevant period of time and as to their intentions were incredible and inconsistent to the extent that the President was satisfied that the evidence of all three adults involved had been untruthful.

While the local authority’s case might have been correct, it could not be said that it had persuaded the court on the balance of probabilities. Even if it had then the President was far from persuaded that the adults’ actions had caused the children to suffer significant harm of a type or in circumstances justifying State intervention.
The care proceedings were dismissed.

Neutral Citation Number: [2016] EWHC 503 (Fam)
Case numbers omitted


Royal Courts of Justice

Date: 7 March 2016
Handed down in public: 5 April 2016

Before :


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In the matter of Y (Children) (No 3)

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Mrs Jane Crowley QC and Miss Rhian Livesley (instructed by the local authority) for local authority B
Miss Jane Cross QC and Miss Alison J Woodward (instructed by Stephensons Solicitors LLP) for MY1 (the mother of Y1, Y2 and grandmother of Y3, Y4)
Mr Karl Rowley QC and Miss Ellie Roberts (instructed by Linder Myers Solicitors LLP) for MY2 (mother of Y3, Y4)
FY2 (father of Y3 and Y4) appeared in person
Miss Julia Cheetham QC and Miss Elizabeth Morton (instructed by Temperley Taylor) for GY (the children’s guardian of Y1, Y2, Y3, Y4)

Hearing dates: 5-8, 12-16, 27 October 2015

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Re Y (Children) (No 3) [2016] EWHC 503 (Fam)

Approved Judgment