A failed asylum seeker is facing expulsion from Britain even though a family court judge has decided that her nine-year-old daughter could be subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM) if taken abroad.
Lawyers representing council social services bosses with welfare responsibility for the youngster have asked a High Court judge to consider the case.
Mr Justice Newton oversaw a preliminary private hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London on Wednesday and heard that the case was the first of its kind.
The judge said the case raised public interest issues relating to “tensions” between politicians and the courts and could be reported by journalists.
He said Suffolk County Council could be named as the local authority involved but said the girl must not be identified in media reports.
A judge is expected to stage a trial in the near future and hear arguments from lawyers representing social services bosses, the woman, the girl and Home Secretary Sajid Javid.
Mr Justice Newton said the trial judge might give guidance on how such issues should be resolved if they arose again.
Barrister James Holmes, who is leading Suffolk Council’s legal team, said the woman has links to Bahrain and Sudan.
She fears that if she leaves Britain for Bahrain, she will end up being be trafficked to Sudan, where the girl would be subjected to female genital mutilation.
Holmes said a family court judge had concluded that the girl would be at risk and made her the subject of an FGM protection order.
But Home Office officials had rejected the woman’s asylum application and ordered her removal.
She had challenged that removal decision but immigration tribunals, and a judge, had rejected her appeals.
Barrister Claire van Overdijk, who is representing Javid, told the judge that the woman would be allowed to stay in the UK for the next few weeks.