Doctors no better at assessing young person’s age than experienced social workers, High Court rules

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 19 May 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b2056
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. 1BMJ

    Paediatricians are no better than trained and experienced social workers in assessing whether an asylum seeker is younger than 18, a UK High Court judge has ruled.

    The decision in two test cases at the High Court in London is expected to stem a flood of legal challenges by young asylum seekers who claim to be under 18 but are deemed by local councils to be adults.

    Asylum seekers under 18 who arrive in the United Kingdom unaccompanied are classed as children and unlike adults are eligible for local authority housing and care. They also have the automatic right to stay till they reach 18.

    Charles Bear QC, for Kent County Council, told the judge, Mr Justice Collins, at an earlier hearing that a “litigation industry” had grown …

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