High Court rules payments made to foreign-national carer of a British child constituted Thlimmenos discrimination


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The High Court has ruled that payments made to a foreign-national carer of a British child constituted Thlimmenos discrimination contrary to Article 14 of the ECHR.

The Claimant – BCD – is a young British boy. In November 2020 his British mother died. He was subsequently cared for by his non-British grandmother (EFG), who has now been recognised as a Zambrano carer. The local authority – Birmingham Children’s Trust – paid EFG the same amount that it would have paid to a family without leave to remain in the UK under section 17 of the Children Act 1989.

BCD said that the local authority were failing to treat him differently despite him being in a relevantly different situation, and that this was therefore discriminatory, contrary to Thlimmenos. The Claimant relied on three comparisons: (i) nationality (ii) immigration status and (iii) the immigration status of his carer. The Court allowed the discrimination claim on each of those grounds.

The judgment gives important guidance on how local authorities can lawfully discharge their obligations to families who have no recourse to public funds, particularly where those families include British children.

Chris Buttler KC and Katy Sheridan represented BCD (through his litigation friend EFG) instructed by Michael Bates at Central England Law Centre.

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