Home Secretary ordered to pay £10,500 compensation to unaccompanied asylum-seeking child for significant breach of his right to family life caused by unlawful refusals to allow him to come to the UK

MA is a vulnerable child from Somalia who was seeking family reunion with his second cousin, ASM, a British citizen resident in the UK.

MA suffers from a serious medical condition, and from a young age experienced neglect, social exclusion, bullying and abuse, and did not attend school in Somalia.

ASM was the only adult who showed love and care to MA, and supported him for many years including by taking him to India and Turkey for medical treatment.

MA eventually entered Greece in September 2019 and claimed asylum there. In Greece, MA experienced loneliness, isolation and instability, and was also bullied due to his medical condition by the boys in the children’s centre he was housed in. This caused a worsening in his well-being and mental health.

In a judgment handed down on 10 December 2020, the Upper Tribunal (Judge Blum) found that the Home Office’s decisions to refuse 4 separate requests by Greece for the UK to take charge of MA’s asylum claim were unlawful as they breached MA’s rights to private and family life under Article 8 European Convention on Human Rights and Article 7 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. This was due to the Home Office’s failure to properly consider the very close relationship between MA and ASM, especially in light of MA’s particular vulnerabilities. These unlawful decisions resulted in many months delay in reunification which was highly distressing to MA who was alone in Greece.

After this judgment, in May 2021 MA was finally transferred to the UK so he could live with ASM.

In a further decision handed down on 20 April 2023, the Upper Tribunal (Judge Blum) has made an award of £10,500 to compensate MA for breach of his Article 8 rights.

The Judge found that compensation was necessary to provide MA with just satisfaction, notwithstanding that the earlier decision had achieved his primary aim of being reunited with ASM. It was specifically considered that there was a “significant breach of the substantive Article 8 ECHR relationship between [MA] and ASM” which warranted a grant of compensation to provide MA with just satisfaction.

You can read the December 2020 Upper Tribunal judgment here. The damages judgment is available here and the Final Order here.

MA was represented by Michelle Knorr instructed by Wilson Solicitors LLP’s Public Law & Human Rights Team.