13th July 2021

Online Seminar via Zoom

Online Seminar via Zoom

Challenges to age assessments of separated children and young people

Tuesday 13 July 2021 | 16:00 - 18:00

Age assessments have a profound effect upon separated children and young people in respect to their entitlement to Children Act 1989 support and the exercise of immigration powers and functions in relation to them.  Many separated children arrive in the UK without identity documents and without any proof of their age.  Where their age is doubted by the Home Office or a local authority, they will be the subject of an age assessment which when conducted sensitively and lawfully, will ensure that they receive age-appropriate support, accommodation, education and healthcare as well as appropriate safeguards in the asylum process.

In recent years, litigation around age assessments has increased with a significant number of challenges being brought to the lawfulness or fairness of assessments and to related policies.  Challenges to age assessments can be complex and protracted and are of significant importance to establishing the rights and entitlements for highly vulnerable children.

This seminar will consider the practice of local authority age assessments, the current legal landscape and best practice in the preparation of claims.  The panel will bring together the substantial experience of the Refugee Council as the leading UK charity working with separated children and supporting those who have been age disputed, alongside lawyers working on such cases. 

The panel will consider:

  • An overview of the Merton framework and an insight into local authority practices in the conduct of assessments.

  • The current landscape of the case law, including on short form age assessments; the assessment of children by the Home Office including at Kent Intake Unit (KIU), applications for interim relief and fact-finding hearings.

  • Best practice in preparing cases including evidence obtaining from third parties, EU countries and expert evidence.

The speakers are: Antonia Benfield of Doughty Street Chambers; Helen Johnson OBE, Head of the Refugee Council’s Children’s Services and Edward Taylor, Solicitor at Osbornes Law.

There will be live auto-transcription enabled throughout this event and it will be recorded. All guests will have their cameras and microphones turned off automatically for this event. Exclusionary language will not be accepted.

The audio transcript will be made available on request.

Unfortunately, we will be unable to provide a BSL interpreter for this event.

Please let us know if you would like to engage in a confidential conversation regarding this or if you have any other accessibility requirements at: events@doughtystreet.co.uk.

Watch the recording below. 

Slides are available here

Challenges to age assessments of separated children and young people