Deputy High Court Judge allows judicial review of abbreviated age assessment

The High Court has allowed a legal challenge to the London Borough of Islington’s use of an abbreviated assessment of an asylum seeker’s age.

The plaintiff argues that the local authority should have carried out a merton Compliant age assessment, as stated in R (B) v London Borough of Merton [2003] EWHC 1689 (administrator).

David Gardner of No5 Chambers, appointed by Amandeep Basra of Bhatia Best Solicitors, represents the plaintiff.

No5 said the case ‘highlights the dangers of local authorities undertaking abbreviated age assessments, which should be carried out infrequently and only when it is clear that the young person claiming to be a child is well over 18 “.

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The set added: “There must be an acknowledgment of the clear margin of error necessary to provide adequate protection to the claimed child, consistent with cases such as in R (AB) v Kent County Council [2020] EWHC 109 (administrator) and R (SB) v Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea [2022] EWHC 308 (administrator)”.

The judge also granted the claimant’s request for interim measures to ensure that he receives accommodation and support under the Children Act 1989 until his age is finally determined. .

The case is being heard by the Administrative Court, rather than the Superior Court (Immigration and Asylum Chamber), as the challenge relates to the legality of the abbreviated assessment rather than the findings of the assessment , following cases such as A B and SBsaid No5.

Islington Council has been approached for comment.

Adam Carey