Tower Hamlets father suspected of being a Islamic extremist who wants to travel to Syria
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
A High Court judge has ordered the government to act faster when lawyers working on cases involving the children of suspected extremists need information, following a complaint from Tower Hamlets Council.
The recommendation is a result of barristers representing the council complaining of ‘inaction’ from Home Office lawyers in regards to the case of a child from the borough whose father was a suspected Islamic extremist.
The local authority had requested information from Home Secretary Amber Rudd to help decide whether the child should be removed from their home.
However Sarah Morgan QC said Home Office lawyers had not complied with the “disclosure orders” made months ago.
Mrs Justice Pauffley said government legal advisers must respond more swiftly to information requests.
She said: “I quite accept that the courts and the secretary of state for the home department are even now in the relatively early stages of grappling with the problems consequent upon proceedings of this kind.
“I would be the first to accept that I have been engaged in a learning exercise.
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“Doubtless the government legal department is an overstretched organisation with many competing calls upon the time of those who work within.
“However, with an eye to the future and other similar cases, it seems to me that there must be mechanisms for significantly swifter specialist advice and consequent action.”
The preliminary hearing at the family division of the High Court heard anti-terror police suspected that the child’s father was an Islamic extremist who wanted to travel to Syria for jihad.
The judge said the man, and the child’s mother, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had been stopped at airports and questioned.
Mrs Justice Pauffley added: “Whatever else results from this hearing, it is my hope that the secretary of state for the home department will be more rapidly and decisively responsive to the family courts’ requests for engagement.”