Home Office approach to age assessment in trafficking cases rejected


Re: R (NS) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2019] EWHC 861 (Admin)

The claimant challenges the defendant’s Competent Authority Conclusive Grounds decision that she is not a victim of trafficking. She argues that she was a child at the date of the alleged trafficking, which is key as the test for the identification of a child victim of trafficking differs to that applied to an adult.

Held: Inter alia, the defendant’s failure to consider the claimant’s diploma certificate, its contents, its potential consistency with the information given in the visa application and the passport, and the possibility that it was in fact the claimant’s, represented a failure to consider all relevant evidence contrary to Guidance and contrary to basic principles of procedural fairness. Furthermore, it was not open to the decision-maker to attach “no weight” to the claimant’s evidence. The defendant had also taken a flawed approach to the trafficking criteria.

Samantha Knights QC was involved in this case.