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Guidance: Liaison between Courts in England and Wales and British Embassies and High Commissions Abroad

Guidance by the President of the Family Division.

This guidance note describes procedures which are to be followed when a court in England and Wales exercising family jurisdiction seeks to invoke diplomatic assistance. The procedures have been agreed between the President of the Family Division and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

Courts exercising family jurisdiction in England and Wales regularly deal with cases where children have been wrongfully removed to a foreign country or have been retained there wrongfully, most commonly by a parent or relative. Such cases may involve abduction or removal by one or both parents with a view to forced marriage abroad, in which case a Forced Marriage Protection Order (FMPO) may be appropriate.

When the court is exercising family jurisdiction in such circumstances, diplomatic assistance may be sought, via the FCO in London, from the relevant British Embassies and High Commissions abroad.