Spotlight
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...
Spotlight
Latest articles
Resolution issues Brexit notes for family lawyers ahead of IP completion day
Family lawyer organisation, Resolution, has issued two joint notes to assist family lawyers in England and Wales ahead of the end of the Brexit transition/implementation period at 11 pm on 31 December...
Online filing is real-time on New Year's Eve: practice direction change to accommodate EU withdrawal arrangements
I have heard that there will be an amendment to the relevant practice directions to provide that online applications received on New Year’s Eve after 4:30 PM and before 11:00 PM will count as...
Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust v AB
The issue in this case concerned AB’s capacity to make specific decisions about treatment relating to her anorexia nervosa. She was 28 years old and had suffered with anorexia since the age of...
EU laws continue until at least 2038 and beyond
The UK left the EU on 31 January 2020.  But in matters of law it fully leaves on 31 December 2020.  But EU laws will continue to apply, and be applied, in the English family courts from 1...
Remote hearings in family proceedings – how is justice perceived?
The motion for the recent Kingsley Napley debate:  “This House believes remote hearings are not remotely fair” was carried with a fairly balanced 56% in favour and 44% against....
View all articles
Authors

Supreme Court rules that courts should determine who is a child, not local authorities

Oct 27, 2018, 07:03 AM
Slug : supreme-court-rules-that-courts-should-determine-who-is-a-child-not-local-authorities
Meta Title :
Meta Keywords :
Canonical URL :
Trending Article : No
Prioritise In Trending Articles : No
Date : Nov 27, 2009, 04:23 AM
Article ID : 89757

R (on the application of A) v London Borough of Croydon and one other; R (on the application of M) v London Borough of Lambeth and one other [2009] UKSC 8

The Supreme Court has unanimously decided that it is ultimately for the courts, not local authorities, to resolve whether a young person is or is not a child.

The judgment will be important to local authorities as regular disputes arise out of cases where people claim that they are a minor. Adults have an incentive to claim to be minors as local authorities owe more duties towards children in need than they do for adults in a similar situation.

The Court considered two individual cases, "A" and "M" both arrived alone in England and claimed asylum, stating that they were under eighteen. Each was referred to local authority social workers who assessed them as adults. They both challenged the resulting decisions of the local authorities that they were not entitled to accommodation.

The Supreme Court had to decide on two main issues:

Firstly, whether the duty on local authorities to provide accommodation and related services under the Children Act 1989 is owed only to a person who appears to the local authority to be a child so that the decision is ultimately for the authority to make, or whether it is owed to a person who is in fact a child so that the decision is ultimately for a court to make.

Secondly, whether the decision to provide accommodation is the determination of their "civil rights", so that the decision-making process has to comply with the requirements for a fair trial before an independent and impartial tribunal under Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

On the first issue, Lady Hale explained that the many references to "a child" throughout the 1989 Act must mean the same thing, that is, a person who is in fact a child. There was a right or a wrong answer to this question, difficult though it might be to decide it in some cases. It was a different type of question from whether the child was "in need" within the meaning of the Act, which involved a number of different value judgements suitable for expert assessment by social workers. She pointed out, however, that local authorities, or the UK borders agency in asylum cases, will still have to decide whether or not a person is a child in the first instance; it will only be if this remains disputed that the court may have to take the decision.

On the second issue, Lady Hale said that it was unnecessary, in light of her conclusion on the first issue, to reach any firm conclusions on the application of Article 6 of the Convention. She declined to decide whether a child's entitlement to accommodation under the 1989 Act was a "civil right", but commented that she would be most reluctant to hold that Article 6 required the judicialisation of claims to welfare services of this kind. Lords Scott, Walker and Neuberger agreed with her approach. While agreeing that it was unnecessary to reach any firm conclusions on the point, Lord Hope doubted whether the duty of local authorities to provide accommodation under the 1989 Act gave rise to a "civil right" within the meaning of Article 6 of the Convention.


Download full judgment
Categories :
  • News
Tags :
Authors
Provider :
Product Bucket :
Recommend These Products
Related Articles
Load more comments
Comment by from