Our Sinead Marmion, head of Immigration, champions a successful challenge against a Home Office decision. Mr Ronan Lavery KC with Mr Robert McTernaghan act for our vulnerable client, JR147.
In the first judgment of its kind in this jurisdiction, Colton J recognises the need to make factual finding on age in circumstances where the Home Office acted unlawfully.
Our client who is Kuwaiti Bidun, claimed asylum in October 2019. A Care Order was made in April 2020, referring to his date of birth as 17 April 2003. Thereafter, the applicant was treated as a child in this jurisdiction by the relevant authorities.
Our client had faced ongoing delays and a difficult asylum process, this has been recognised by the High Court. The Secretary of State refused our client’s asylum claim in November 2022, stating that she is not satisfied that JR147 was a child when he entered the UK but rather an adult based on information held by Greek authorities.
Following submissions, Colton J made a significant exception in determining that our client was in fact a child and made a declaration of applicant’s date of birth. As such, the High Court determined that the Home Office unlawfully determined that the applicant was an adult on arrival and Home Office did not attach appropriate weight to expert evidence, nor to the fact that our client was a potential victim or trafficking throughout his journey across Europe. Further, the court was resolute that the evidence available overwhelmingly points in favour of our client and against the Secretary of State on the specific issue of the assessment of his age.
As such, Colton J made an Order declaring new date of birth, thereby quashing the Home Office’s decision on date of birth.
This decision marks an important win for age assessments in this jurisdiction, finding that the High Court is able to determine facts, namely someone’s age, which is an Article 8 right to have correct.