A mother in a child residency dispute has been ordered to wear an electronic tag of the kind used to monitor criminals.
The extraordinary family court ruling was made after she twice took her daughter abroad unlawfully. The court also ruled that she should be given a home detention curfew if she wanted to continue caring for the child.
Tagging and curfews could now be extended to hundreds of family court cases where mothers or fathers try to prevent access to children, parents groups and lawyers said yesterday.
The courts decision to use an electronic tag came despite explicit opposition from ministers. They scrapped plans to include electronic tagging and curfews in residency cases in a Bill that came into force last December, calling it disproportional.
Details of the tagging and curfew order have now been published as guidance for judges and lawyers. It follows a residency dispute involving a girl who can be referred to only as A.
The mother has to a wear an electronic tag about the size of a wristwatch around her ankle. Police are alerted if she attempts to remove the tag or leaves the home without authorisation while caring for her daughter.
The girls Greek father, who lives in Britain, said he feared that her mother would take her out of Britain again unless safeguards were put in place. His daughter had been unlawfully taken abroad by her mother in 2007 and again last year but foreign courts ordered the girl to be returned home.