Court of Appeal to consider Home Office obligations when detaining age disputed children under immigration powers

Tuesday 14 July 2015

The Court of Appeal will consider tomorrow (15 July 2015) the obligations owed by the Home Office when detaining children who are age disputed. Garden Court Chambers is representing the children at the Court of Appeal.

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The Home Office’s policy is not to detain children under immigration powers save for in very exceptional circumstances. 

In each of the two linked appeals, there were no such exceptional circumstances. The Home Office relied on an assessment of age carried out by the local authority to detain each of the two children, in circumstances where the assessments were not lawful and did not comply with guidance on such assessments, subject to these appeals.

VS, one of the children concerned in the appeal, succeeded in the High Court in a judgment of Mr. Simon Picken QC sitting as a deputy High Court Judge. The appeal being heard on 15 July is the Home Office’s appeal against the Court’s declaration that VS was unlawfully detained. Click here for judgment - VS v The Home Office [2014] EWHC 2483 (QB) (22 July 2014)

ZSS, the other child concerned in this appeal, is appealing against a High Court judgment of Robin Purchas QC sitting as a deputy High Court Judge.

Despite pledges by the Government to end child detention, these two appeals illustrate that the Home Office is continuing to fail unaccompanied child asylum seekers who come to the UK to seek protection and safety as refugees.

Stephanie Harrison QC leads Shu Shin Luh, both of Garden Court Chambers, in the case of VS. They were instructed by Jessica Whitehead of Coram Children’s Legal Centre for the Respondent, VS, in the appeal of the Home Office against the High Court judgment in VS’s favour.

Stephanie Harrison QC leads Greg O’Ceallaigh of Garden Court Chambers, in the case of ZSS. They were instructed by Nicola Daniel of TV Edwards for the Appellant, ZSS, in his appeal against the High Court judgment.

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