Irena Sabic KC and Alex Grigg, of the Garden Court Public Law, Immigration and Community Care Teams, represented the Claimant, anonymised as DK, instructed by Radhi Shah of Youth Legal (now of Coram CLC).
The High Court this week rejected a local authority’s argument that it had no obligation to consider requests for support made by foreign national care leavers without leave to remain in the UK.
DK, an Albanian national, had been in Croydon’s care since he came to the UK as an unaccompanied asylum-seeking child. Croydon withdrew all support in 2021, by which time DK was an adult and his asylum claim had failed.
DK later asked Croydon to renew its support for him as a care leaver under the Children Act 1989. There was evidence that DK had been the victim of exploitation, including while in Croydon’s care, and that he remained vulnerable to the same. DK was in the process of making further submissions to renew his asylum claim, and could not be expected to leave the UK. DK argued that he was entitled to support by articles 4 and 8 ECHR.
Croydon refused to consider that request, saying that DK’s immigration status precluded the provision of any support. The High Court has ruled that that response was unlawful. Croydon had been obliged to consider DK’s human rights claim, and had failed to do so.
Shortly after the hearing, but before judgment was given, Croydon had agreed to conduct the human rights assessment requested by DK. The court gave its decision notwithstanding that agreement, accepting DK’s submissions that:
“[H]is case is of general application and it will be of assistance to local authorities to know what they are obliged to do when confronted with requests for human rights assessments, and to individuals seeking support to know what they can expect of local authorities to whom they make requests.”
It is to be hoped that local authorities will take note of the decision, and remind themselves of their obligations towards foreign national care-leavers.