Security
Returning jihadis will end up in family courts, Lord Chief Justice warns

Returning jihadis will end up in family courts, Lord Chief Justice warns


British jihadis returning from Syria will put pressure on the family courts over the next year, the Lord Chief Justice has said.

 

The most senior judge in England and Wales said he expected more care cases to arise as families return from jihadi territories.

 

So-called Islamic State has lost much of its territory in Syria and Iraq during the past 18 months, and it was reported earlier this year that foreign fighters fleeing the two countries had been arrested at the Turkish border.

 

It is estimated that 850 British citizens have travelled to fight for jihadi groups in the two countries, including some large family groups with several children.

 

Some of those who travelled to join IS either took children with them or may have married and given birth while abroad.

 

The Lord Chief Justice made the prediction in his annual report to Parliament which sets out the position of the court system including the challenges it faces and how it is dealing with them.

 

The report, the final one written by current Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas before his retirement in October, says the number of cases arising because British citizens have travelled to IS territory has fallen in the past year.

 

But it adds that the Family Court also "dealt with a number of cases arising from radicalisation and terrorism in a purely domestic context, and, over the next 12 months, it is anticipated that cases will also arise when the families of UK citizens return from IS territory."

 

According to a database compiled by the BBC, young children of British jihadis still believed to be alive in Iraq or Syria include the six-year-old son of British Nigerian convert Grace Dare, who is thought to have appeared in an Islamic State film in 2016.

 

Siddhartha Dhar travelled to join the Islamist group with his wife and four children in 2014, and Imran and Farzana Ameen left with their five children, then aged five to 15, in 2015.