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The Supreme Court of the British Indian Ocean Territory (“BIOT”) has handed down judgment in relation to a claim for judicial review and applications for wardship brought on behalf of a number of Tamil asylum-seekers who have been stranded on the island of Diego Garcia in the BIOT for some 2.5 years.

The Court held that certain provisions of the Children Act 1989 (UK) apply in the BIOT, with the consequence that the Commissioner has statutory duties to assess children’s welfare; investigate risks of harm; and provide reasonable support to safeguard and protect children. Rejecting the Commissioner’s argument that the Children Act 1989 was “wholly unsuitable to the BIOT” the Court held that it was already established that “there cannot be any concept of ‘lesser justice’ in the BIOT” (referring to the case of VT) and that “The same principle applies with regard to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children”.

The judgment is available here.

Ben Jaffey KC and Natasha Simonsen acted for three of the Claimants.

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