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On 2 July 2021 the Divisional Court declared that two key aspects of the Home Office’s policy guidance on the reunification of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children with their relatives in the UK under EU Regulation 604/2013 (Dublin III) were erroneous in law, applying the test established in Gillick v West Norfolk and Wisbech Area Health Authority [1986] AC 112.

That guidance unlawfully advised case-workers to refuse applications which had not yet been properly investigated because the Home Office had not managed to complete enquiries within strict Dublin III timescales. It also unlawfully advised case-workers that local authority assessments on family relationships should not be commissioned unless the Home Office had already decided there was a family link, so that applications might be refused without the benefit of the local authority’s views. The Court emphasised the importance for individuals, the Home Office and the courts of correcting guidance which was erroneous in law, so as to avoid unlawful decision-making and resulting challenges (§98 Judgment).

Charlotte Kilroy QC represented the Claimant, charity Safe Passage International. 

Press coverage can be seen on The Independent and The Mirror.

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