UK: High Court criticises local Council for failure to provide accommodation to child refugees and to facilitate transition into adulthood

Thursday, May 10, 2018

On 10 May 2018, the England and Wales High Court ruled in case KI, R (On the Application Of) v London Borough of Brent, which concerned a Sudanese national who arrived to the UK together with his cousin after being transferred from France on the application of the Dublin III Regulation. Before their arrival, the London Borough of Brent had accepted that they would be considered “children in need” pursuant to section 17 (10) of the Children Act 1989. A social worker assessed that the children could not be accommodated with their uncle in a flat as this would be overcrowded and he would be unlikely to support them. Despite this, the children were put into the care of their uncle. Following a disruption of the care provided to one of the applicants, the Council attempted to move the applicant back in with his uncle.

The High Court found that the Council was in breach of its duty under section 20 of the Children Act 1989 to provide suitable accommodation and care in seeking to send the child to live with his uncle, despite the concerns raised with regard to the flat and the uncle’s ability to care for him. Moreover, upon the child reaching the age of eighteen, the Council had refused to acknowledge that he was a “former relevant child” for the purposes of section 23C of the 1989 Act, which establishes specific duties to facilitate his transition into adulthood, including help with accommodation and education.

This item was reproduced with the permission of ECRE from the weekly ELENA legal update. The purpose of these updates is to inform asylum lawyers and legal organizations supporting asylum seekers and refugees of recent developments in the field of asylum law. Please note that the information provided is taken from publicly available information on the internet. Every reasonable effort is made to make the content accurate and up to date at the time each item is published but no responsibility for its accuracy and correctness, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed by ECRE. 



Best interest of the child
Child Specific Considerations
Reception conditions