Scotland Yard is urging the home secretary, Amber Rudd, to intervene in the case of woman from Sierra Leone who carries out female genital mutilation and is said to be seeking entry into the UK.
The Metropolitan police applied to the high court for a female genital mutilation protection order and a further order to prevent the woman from entering the UK.
Mr Justice Holman, however, sitting in London, said the question of whether the woman could enter the country was a matter for the secretary of state, not the court.
The woman, who was not named in court, is understood to be Kharday Zorokong, who was part of a Sierra Leonean delegation that included the minister for gender, Dr Sylvia Blyden, to the 73rd session of the UN committee on the rights of the child in Geneva last week. Zorokong performs FGM, but is opposed to operations on children under 18. Campaigners feared that she would come to the UK as part of Blyden's delegation after the meeting in Geneva.