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Deputy High Court judge grants permission for judicial review of abbreviated age assessment

The High Court has granted permission for a judicial review challenge of the London Borough of Islington's use of an abbreviated assessment of an asylum seeker's age.

The claimant contends that the local authority should have carried out a Merton compliant age assessment as set out in R (B) v London Borough of Merton [2003] EWHC 1689 (Admin).

David Gardner of No5 Chambers, instructed by Amandeep Basra of Bhatia Best Solicitors, is representing the claimant.

No5 said the case "highlights the dangers of local authorities undertaking abbreviated age assessments, which should be undertaken rarely and only when it is obvious that the young person purporting to be a child is significantly older than 18".

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The set added: "There must be recognition of the clear margin for error necessary to afford adequate protection to the asserted child, in line with cases such as in R (AB) v Kent County Council [2020] EWHC 109 (Admin) and R (SB) v Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea [2022] EWHC 308 (Admin)".

The Judge also granted the claimant's application for interim relief to ensure that he is provided with accommodation and support under the Children Act 1989 until the final determination of his age.

The case is being heard in the Administrative Court, rather than the Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber), as the challenge is to the lawfulness of the abbreviated assessment rather than the conclusions of the assessment, following cases such as AB and SB, No5 said.

Islington Council has been approached for comment.

Adam Carey

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