Two young men won the High Court’s objection on Wednesday against British Home Secretary Priti Patel in a way that was age-assessed upon illegal entry into the UK.
Although their names were not disclosed, they said they were minors on arrival, but were soon determined to be adults by social workers at a camp in Dover, Kent.
Two adolescent men said the rating was “short” and the method of measuring age was unfair.
In the case’s ruling, Judge Henshaw said the assessment was “in certain respects” and “not legal.”
The charity boss welcomed the court’s decision, but the Home Office is “disappointed” with the decision.
One of the petitioners from Kuwait said he was born in June 2004 when he arrived in Kent by heavy truck in December 2020. It is unknown which European countries passed before arriving in the United Kingdom.
His age was determined to be 20 after a 42 minute assessment.
According to the Guardians, young people belong to the “Bedoon” group, a stateless Arab minority in Kuwait.
A profile published by Minority Lights Group International and cited in the Interior Ministry’s policy regarding the group (pdfThe Kuwaiti government has stated that Bedoon is “classified as an” illegal resident “even though many have no actual relationship with countries other than Kuwait.”
Another claimant, the Iranian people, said he tried to travel to Britain with a rubber dinghy this month, but was born in May 2003 after being rescued by the sea.
He was determined to be 21 years old after an hour-long evaluation.
In response to this ruling, the refugee council chief executive officer Enver Solomon, the charity involved in the case, was relieved that the charity was “no longer allowed to make rush decisions. “.
“Distinguishing between adults and children is not an immediate task. It takes time and expertise to make the right decisions,” he added.
Solomon is “no safeguards or oversight” in the process of age assessment, “to ensure that someone mistakenly considers them adults and helps them access the care they are eligible for. I just rely on luck. ” “
The Ministry of Home Affairs said the ministry was “disappointed with the court’s decision.”
“The government has promised to protect children and the vulnerable, but we cannot allow asylum seekers to claim to be children,” a spokesman said. “It poses a serious protection risk.” Added.
“Our nationality and border bill aims to improve the difficult age assessment process, broadening the evidence base that social workers consider when making assessments and leading to more informed decisions. Let’s do it, “said the statement.
The disputed age assessment process and the use of social workers in that process ended before Wednesday’s ruling, where the Home Office updated its guidance ().pdf) On January 14, in response to another court ruling in July 2021.
In 2021, the secret crossroads of the English Channel brought about 28,400 people into the UK, three times the number in 2020.
By November 18, a total of five small boats had been returned to Europe in 2021.
PA contributed to this report.