R (on the application of BH) v LB Newham CO/804/2023
Jenn Lawrence is acting for BH, a young asylum seeker from Iranian Kurdistan. He claims to have entered the UK in September 2021 aged 16. However, in an age assessment the following year, the local authority attributed BH an age of 22. The local authority therefore decided that it owed no duties of accommodation and support to BH under the Children Act 1989 and passed him to the care of the Home Office.
This case is different from the majority of age dispute cases because, on his claimed age, BH was already 18 at the time of the interim relief hearing. However, the issue of age was of continuing relevance as it determined whether he was a “former relevant child” to whom the local authority continued to owe certain (albeit less onerous) duties under the Children Act 1989.
At the interim relief hearing in the Administrative Court, BH’s legal team was successful in securing an interim relief order which means that the local authority must continue to provide support and accommodation to BH as a “former relevant child” pending final determination of his judicial review claim.
In age disputes where the young person still claims to be a child, it is common that the local authority agrees to treat him or her as such pending final determination of the claim. It is much rarer to secure interim relief of this type in a case where the young person is already an adult.
Jenn Lawrence is instructed by Rory Matheson at Osbornes Law.