Happy Birthday? Disputing age of children in the immigration system - Refugee Council
May 17, 2013

Happy Birthday? Disputing age of children in the immigration system

A report published today from the Coram Children’s Legal Centre looks at the issue of age disputed young people, with a particular focus on the legal proceedings used to challenge poor assessments by local authorities.

The report, Happy Birthday? Disputing the age of children in the immigration system contains information about amounts spent by local authorities defending their decisions, an issue which is picked up by the Guardian in its reporting of the research.

The Refugee Council provided updated statistics to the researcher on children who had been detained as a result of their age not being believed; as first reported in  Not a minor offence in 2012. More details of the work we do to help these children can be found here.

Happy Birthday makes recommendations for policymakers and practitioners which would improve the situation and potentially avoid so many children having to fight to be recognised as such.   

Policy Officer Judith Dennis said

“This report reveals some of the economic and personal cost of age assessments, the extreme of which is a child locked up in immigration detention because of a mistaken belief that he is an adult. Preventing this from continuing must be at the centre of any new approach. The state’s desire to control immigration should not override the safety and welfare of children.”