R (on the application of A) v Croydon London Borough Council; R (on the application of WK) v Secretary of State for the Home Department and another
Case date: 08 May 2009
The claimants in the instant set of proceedings, A in the one case, and WK in the other, were Afghan nationals who had arrived in the United Kingdom by clandestine means. Claims for asylum were made on the basis that they were under 18 years of age. The Secretary of State referred to persons in the claimants' position as 'Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children'. It was not disputed, first, that that description included those who had travelled from war-torn countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq, to claim asylum in the UK; and, secondly, that should the age of an asylum seeker be assessed as under 18, there was available, amongst other things, an automatic grant of leave to remain until aged 18.
The Home Office decided, in respect of each of A and WK, that their physical appearance/demeanour strongly suggested of an age that was over 18. The relevant local authorities, Croydon London Borough Council in A's case, and Kent County Council in WK's case, assessed A and WK respectively as over 18, having relied on the conclusions of social workers.
In due course, the Secretary of State, and the local authorities in each case, were informed by a paediatrician, who had examined A and WK, that, in her view, A and WK had not reached 18 years of age.
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