2012 02 Children

Thursday 1 March 2012

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R (HA) v Hillingdon LBC [2011] EWHC 291 (Admin) (Bean J): Application for interim relief against a local authority in an age dispute challenge. Permission was granted to challenge an assessment of age carried out by Hillingdon whilst the Claimant was in detention in the local authority’s area. He was released and dispersed by UKBA to Birmingham. Upon grant of permission, the Claimant sought interim relief in respect of support and accommodation under the Children Act 1989 against Hillingdon. Hillingdon contended that as the child was in the area of Birmingham, it should be Birmingham’s responsibility. The Court ruled against Hillingdon’s submissions and held that the authority whose assessment is under challenge should retain responsibility for the putative child pending the determination at a substantive trial as to the fact of the Claimant’s age. See judgment here.

R (MU) v LB of Newham (extempore judgment) (Wyn Williams J): Declaratory judgment on the correct approach local authority children’s services should take to assessing the eligibility of a British child with a Third Country national to Children Act services in the context of EU law. Applying the CJEU’s judgment in Case C-34/09 Ruiz Zambrano, BAILII: [2011] EUECJ C-34/09, the Court granted a declaration that the Claimant is a British child who enjoys an EU right to reside under Article 20, TFEU. Her mother, a Third Country national overstayer, is her primary carer. She is entirely dependent on her mother. It should be read, applying Zambrano, that the Third Country mother has a derivative right to reside because it is necessary for the British child to have genuine enjoyment of her rights as an EU citizen. The Court granted declaratory relief that local authorities must, in determining eligibility of a British child with overstayer parent to Children Act services, consider what if any EU rights the child enjoys, the dependency between the child-parent and the family’s rights under EU law to reside. Importantly the Court accepted and declared that the Third Country national parent's domestic immigration status is irrelevant to the determination of her derivative EU rights arising from her child's rights as an EU citizen. The Court also granted the Claimant indemnity costs post-permission in view of the local authority’s entire non-engagement with the clear reasons given on grant of permission that this is a claim which is bound to succeed. (Sealed Order to come with transcript of judgment). n.b. Case Note also to follow.

MU was represented by Shu Shin Luh of Garden Court Chambers, instructed by Ravinder Brar of Edwards Duthie.

Other matters:

A new report by The Children’s Society reveals alarming levels of destitution among refugee, asylum-seeking and migrant children and young people. See full report of “I don’t feel human: Experiences of destitution among young refugees and migrants” here.

Annual Ofsted Children’s Care monitor reveals more than half of children in care are given less than a week’s notice before being moved to live in a different placement. See report here.

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