FGM is a procedure where the female genitals are knowingly cut, injured or changed. The practice is a criminal offence in the UK under the Prohibition of Female Circumcision Act 1985 and it is also illegal to take a girl or woman out of the UK to have this done.
FGM can cause life-long health problems, and in some cases death. Women can also face difficulties when giving birth and may suffer from psychological trauma. FGM is carried out for a number of cultural, religious and social reasons. Sometimes known as female circumcision, it is also referred to by a number of other terms including sunna, gudniin, halalays, tahur, megrez and khitan.
Although illegal, hundreds of young girls and woman are still affected by FGM. The NSPCC states that there are an estimated 137,000 women and girls affected by FGM in England and Wales.
If you or somebody that you know is at risk of, or has suffered FGM, our family and child care solicitors can assist and help you to obtain a Female Genital Mutilation Protection Order (FGMPO) to prevent any FGM from occurring either in the UK or abroad.
Our solicitors can draft and apply for the FGMPO on your behalf, and will closely consider your individual safety, situation, and requirements. They can also make an urgent same day application to ensure you are legally protected and if abroad, taken out of the country.
Our team can also connect you with FGM support groups that can help you during this difficult time.
We also advise families against whom FGM orders are sought. Very often the court is required to consider whether it is safe for a child to travel abroad to a country where FGM is prominent. Families very often wish to take children to see their relatives and so the court must decide what risks there are if any, to travel. In doing so, the court requires the respondents to an application to a FGM application to be represented in such proceedings. Sometimes, legal aid is also available depending on your financial circumstances and the merits of your case.
The protection order can ensure that your personal safety is guaranteed.
The order contains legally binding conditions to protect the person at risk. Conditions of the order include travel bans prohibiting the individual being taken abroad. The order allows the court the power to remove and ban all passport and travel document applications for the individual.
The order can also give specific instructions to ensure that no arrangements are put into place in the UK for FGM to take place, and will also forbid bringing someone to the UK to commit FGM.
The department is ranked by the independent legal directory, The Legal 500, and includes key lawyers who have achieved the Law Society’s Children Law and Family Law Advanced accreditations and Resolution specialists.
Our lawyers regularly attend key national FGM conferences and are often invited as panellists to address delegates on the law in relation to FGM practices.
The London based specialist team, led by Director Ravi Kaur Mahey, were involved in the first successful FGM case to be heard in the Court of Appeal and after the re-trial of the case has set precedent for FGM law in the UK.
We are one of the select number of firms in the UK that are on the International Child Abduction and Contact Unit (ICACU) referral list, the team also includes the founding member of the Child Abduction Lawyers’ Association (CALA) and listed lawyers on the Reunite lawyer’s website.
Collectively, our staff can speak over 60 languages and our solicitors have a network of affiliates overseas, making us well placed to advise on a number of matters in different jurisdictions.
Duncan Lewis offers Legal Aid to cover the cost of legal fees on matters where Legal Aid is applicable. Individual assessments will need to be undertaken by a solicitor on a case to case basis.
We also offer both fixed fee and hourly rates of payment on all FGM matters. A solicitor will be able to advise further in relation to which payment method is appropriate and the fees for the same, once a case is assessed.
For expert legal advice on international family law matters, call Duncan Lewis family law and child care solicitors on 033 3772 0409 .