France: Administrative Court of Appeal of Douai on margin of error of bone tests to determine applicant’s age

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

On 19 September 2017, the Administrative Court of Appeal of Douai ruled on a case regarding a Congolese unaccompanied minor who applied for asylum in France and, after having his asylum application rejected, received an order to leave the territory.

Under French legislation, children who are third country nationals cannot be subjected to an order to leave the territory. After judicial request, the applicant was subjected to a bone test to determine his age, which suggested he was nineteen years old. However, after receiving an order to leave the territory, the applicant was able to present a birth certificate from the Guinean administrative authorities indicating that he was indeed a child.

The Administrative Court of Appeal of Douai recalled that bone tests for age assessment carry a margin of error. In the case of the applicant, the margin of error meant that his majority could not be established without a doubt. In view of the other elements available to the authorities and that the child had to benefit from the benefit of the doubt, the Administrative Court quashed the decision of the lower court and annulled the order to leave the territory.

Based on an unofficial translation by the ELENA Weekly Legal Update.

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Best interest of the child
Unaccompanied minor
Vulnerable person