Family Law Awards 2020
Shortlist announced - time to place your vote!
Court of Protection Practice 2020
'Court of Protection Practice goes from strength to strength, having...
Jackson's Matrimonial Finance Tenth Edition
Jackson's Matrimonial Finance is an authoritative specialist text...
Latest articles
Practical aspects to assessing competence in children
Rebecca Stevens, Partner, Royds Withy KingThis is an article regarding the practical aspects to assessing competence in children. The article explores a range of practicalities, such as meeting a...
Scrumping the crop of recent pension decisions
Rhys Taylor, 36 Family and 30 Park PlaceJonathan Galbraith, Mathieson Consulting2020 has thus far proved to be a memorable year for all the wrong reasons, but nonetheless it remains an interesting one...
Conduct in financial remedies – when is it now a relevant consideration?
Rachel Gillman, 1 GC/Family LawThis article provides an overview of all aspects of financial misconduct following the recent decision of Mostyn J in OG v AG [2020] EWFC 52, wherein all aspects of...
The treatment of RSUs/Stock Options in light of XW v XH
Peter Mitchell QC, 29 Bedford RowStock Options and Restricted Stock Units (RSUs) are frequently encountered by the Family Court when dividing property on divorce or dissolution of a Civil Partnership....
Hundreds of thousands of companies worldwide fall victims to hackers every year. Is your firm one of them?
SPONSORED CONTENT Image source: Information is beautifulYou and other lawyers and legal assistants in your firm likely have accounts on the hacked websites listed in the image above. If a hacker...
View all articles

LOCAL AUTHORITY: R (NA) v Croydon London Borough [2009] EWHC 2357 (Admin)

Sep 29, 2018, 17:06 PM
Slug : r-na-v-croydon-london-borough-2009-ewhc-2357-admin
Meta Title :
Meta Keywords :
Canonical URL :
Trending Article : No
Prioritise In Trending Articles : No
Date : Sep 18, 2009, 04:22 AM
Article ID : 85885

(Queen's Bench Division (Administrative Court); Blake J; 18 September 2009)

The unaccompanied Afghan sought asylum, claiming to be 15 years old; he had with him an identity document. The document confirmed the age of the asylum-seeker and was apparently authentic.

The local authority accepted that the asylum seeker was a child, but concluded that he was 17 years old. In their conclusions, the social workers stated that they 'found the birth certificate as not authentic', casting doubt upon it because it had not been issued at the date of birth. After the child sought judicial review, the social workers retracted their comments about the document, acknowledging that they had no expertise in this area. The legal challenge prompted the authority to conduct a review interview; however, this review confirmed the original age assessment.

Both the original decision and the review decision were quashed; any re-determination must follow good practice. The first decision as to the child's age had been flawed because of a material failure to understand the nature of, authenticity of and assistance provided by the document, in a case of admitted doubt. The document had not been a birth certificate, but an identity document; government guidelines made it clear that in Afghanistan birth certificates were very rare, whereas about 70% of Afghans had identity documents. As an identity certificate it did not purport to record birth contemporaneously, and could hardly be dismissed for authenticity for that reason. If, as eventually claimed, the social workers had not in fact intended to throw doubt on the authenticity of the document, it was very difficult to see how the social workers applying the required caution and giving the child the benefit of the doubt could have reached the conclusion that he was 17 years old.

Physical appearance alone was a notoriously unreliable basis for age assessments, and in this case it seemed that it was accepted that the child looked young; the real basis for the social workers' assessment seemed to have been the child's 'demeanour'. That was on any view fragile material to weigh conclusively in the balance against the age the child claimed to be.

The review interview and the subsequent writing up of the assessment had not followed best practice, in that: the child had not been asked if he wanted an independent adult present; although he had had both a litigation friend and a solicitor, neither had been aware of the interview; the review had involved two of same people who had produced the original assessment; there had been a two-month gap between the interview and the writing up of the assessment; alleged inconsistencies in his account had not been put to the child. The fairness of the process had thereby been seriously undermined.

Categories :
  • Archive
  • Judgments
Tags :
Provider :
Product Bucket :
Recommend These Products
Related Articles
Load more comments
Comment by from