Government Policy On Young Asylum Seekers Ruled Unlawful

23 May 2019, 18:00

The Home Office policy on young asylum seekers creates a real and avoidable risk of children being detained, a judge ruled.
The Home Office policy on young asylum seekers creates a real and avoidable risk of children being detained, a judge ruled. Picture: PA

Judges have ruled the Home Office policy on young asylum seekers is unlawful and "creates a real risk" of children being wrongly detained.

Home Office guidance states unaccompanied asylum seekers will not be accepted as being children if "their physical appearance and demeanour very strongly suggests that they are significantly over 18 years of age and there is little or no supporting evidence for their claimed age".

Lawyers for an Eritrean asylum seeker argued assessing someone's age based on their appearance or demeanour is "inherently unreliable" and therefore unlawful.

Giving judgment in London on Thursday, the Court of Appeal ruled by a two-to-one majority that the Home Office's current policy "creates a real and avoidable risk of children being unlawfully detained".

Lord Justice Underhill said there is a "very substantial" margin of error of between five and seven years for an age assessment carried out on the basis of physical appearance or demeanour.

The judge held that the Home Office's guidance "fails to convey just how doubtful an assessment based on physical appearance and demeanour alone is", which he said "gave rise to a real risk of children being (unlawfully) detained".

A Home Office spokesman said: "We are disappointed by the judgment and are considering its implications carefully."

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Jessica Lawson drowned on a school trip in 2015

French lifeguard and local council found guilty of manslaughter after Brit girl, 12, drowned in lake on school trip

The scandal surrounding Strictly Come Dancing has deepened after footage showing former professional dancer James Jordan telling his celebrity partner Georgina Bouzova "kill you" surfaced on social media.

Ex-Strictly star James Jordan hits back after resurfaced training footage from show sparks backlash

Mark Rowley says the number of officers in the Met is falling

Met Police officer numbers drop as force calls for 'thousands of applicants' in new recruitment drive

Joe Biden has tested positive for Covid

Biden tests positive for Covid and cancels Vegas campaign event after saying he would only quit race on doctors' orders

Starmer is set to push for a migrant return deal with the EU

Starmer to push for new migrant return deal with EU, as he seeks to 'renew UK's relationship with Europe' at summit

Keir Starmer faces a challenge over the two-child benefit cap

Keir Starmer seeks to stave off Labour backbench revolt over benefit cap with child poverty taskforce

A man has been shot dead in Kirkby

Man shot dead on residential street close to Liverpool training ground, as police launch murder investigation

Joe Biden has hinted he could step aside from the race against Donald Trump for the White House

Biden hints he could quit election race against Trump on medical advice, as top Democrat calls for him to stand down

The scandal surrounding Strictly Come Dancing has deepened after footage showing former professional dancer James Jordan telling his celebrity partner Georgina Bouzova "kill you" surfaced on social media.

Strictly scandal deepens as footage showing ex-pro telling partner he will 'kill her' emerges

Liz Truss

Reference to Truss' 'disaster' mini-budget removed from King's Speech files after ex-PM complains to civil service chief

Police found "over a dozen" firearms at Crooks' home

Thomas Crooks' father 'called police on the day of the Trump rally shooting'

Cameron Jones left his dying fiancee Demi by the side of the road

Moment driver flees from car wreckage leaving fiancee to die - before he later blames her for horror crash

Kim Johnson wants the two-child benefit cap to be scrapped

Labour MP calls for two-child benefit cap to be axed as she plans King's Speech amendment after policy retained

Adele has played 90 shows in Las Vegas

Adele announces she is stepping back from music after growing to ‘absolutely hate’ fame

Two British travel agents are believed to be the pair found shot dead and their bodies burned in a car in Malmo.

British travel agents thought to be pair shot dead and burned in car in Malmo

Two dead and two children in hospital after house fire in Blackpool

Two die and two children rushed to hospital after house fire in Blackpool