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Prioritising children’s best interests

The call by the Joint Committee on Human Rights for a new approach ensuring greater protection for unaccompanied migrant children should be welcome, but will the government listen, ask Shivani Jegarajah and Amanda Walker

21 June 2013

The Joint Committee on Human Rights' report, 'Human Rights of unaccompanied migrant children and young people in the UK', published on 12 June 2013, highlights the systemic failures of the UK's immigration and asylum processes to prioritise and protect the best interests of unaccompanied migrant children.

Age assessment

The committee voiced concern about the "culture of disbelief" around the age assessment of unaccompanied persons claiming to be under 18, advocating a clear set of statutory guidelines for assessing age and saying that "young people should be given the benefit of the doubt unless there are compelling grounds to discount their claim".

The current approach taken by the ?courts, as set out in the case of R (CJ) v Cardiff County Council [2011] EWCA Civ 159 and reaffirmed recently in R (MK) v Wolverhampton City Council [2013] UKUT 00177 (IAC), stops short of recognising the exis...

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