A conference held
today (Friday 19 September) will call for co-operation between different actors
in legal and judicial proceedings involving unaccompanied and trafficked migrant
children. ‘Working together to ensure the protection and reception of unaccompanied children in Europe’
will recommend the
development of children’s courts and highlight the need for multi-agency
launches a new tool for professionals, including social workers, police,
immigration officers and lawyers in the form of a standards report which to help
ensure that these children are fully able to participate in legal processes and
that the right decisions made about their future.
The event is
co-hosted by Garden Court Chambers
and Coram Children’s Legal Centre
(CCLC). Kamena Dorling
, Policy and Programmes Manager at CCLC said:
who are without parents or guardians in the UK depend on legal and social care
professionals recognising them as children first and foremost.
They are subject
to a complicated series of legal procedures, courts and tribunals and a lack of
communication between lawyers and other professionals can have devastating
consequences for their welfare.
In addition to
the immigration and asylum system, they may be wrongly charged with a criminal
offence as a victim of trafficking or have to take legal action in order to
dispute an assertion that they are over 18, or be a party to family proceedings
because of child protection concerns.
applications from children have fallen (from around 6,000 in 2002 to just over
1,000 in 2014) many asylum seeking children teams have closed. Therefore the
children who remain in the system are no longer likely to be assigned a social
worker with the necessary specialist skills and knowledge to support them.
sufficient training and awareness of their rights, our concern is that these
vulnerable children are at an increased risk of abuse or
The conference is
organised as part of the EU funded CONNECT Project
, looking at practice in the
UK, the Netherlands, Italy, and Sweden.
The CONNECT project
report, ‘Always migrants - sometimes children
’, identifies good practice and
areas for improvement in the UK.
‘Tool to Assist Actors in Legal and Judicial Proceedings
’ aims to
improve the support provided within the legal system.
Both reports were
produced by Nadine Finch
of Garden Court Chambers, acting for Coram Children’s