High Court quashes local authority age assessment

Tuesday 23 August 2016

A successful judicial review has established that an Eritrean national was a child when he claimed asylum. The claimant was represented by Taimour Lay of Garden Court Chambers.

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A local authority erred in concluding that an Eritrean asylum seeker had been over 18 years old when he entered the UK. In Q, R (On the Application Of) v Leicestershire County Council & Anor [2016] EWHC 2087 (Admin) (11 August 2016) Sir Stephen Silber, sitting as a High Court Judge, found in the claimant's favour following a judicial review hearing on 22 and 23 June 2016.

The High Court accepted that the claimant was 16 years old when he claimed asylum and rejected the conclusions of the local authority's age assessment interview. The case is notable for the Court having found that the assessment itself was procedurally fair (i.e. Merton-compliant) but nonetheless still substantively incorrect because of 1) the local authority's mistreatment of objective evidence on military conscription of children in Eritrea and 2) the social worker's ''misconceived'' view that the claimant had been ''coached'' into giving false answers. After cross-examination of the claimant and the social worker, the Judge concluded, “I am quite satisfied that [Q] was an honest witness whose evidence I could accept”.

The claimant, ''Q'', was represented by Taimour Lay, a member of the Garden Court Immigration and Public Law Teams. He was instructed by Kirsten Powrie of Wilsons Solicitors.

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