BBM -v- London Borough of Croydon (anonymity order)
Administrative CourtCivilHigh CourtKing's Bench DivisionAnonymity Order
Case number: CO/471/2023
In the High Court of Justice
King’s Bench Division
6 February 2023
The Honourable Mrs Justice Heather Williams DBE
The King on the application of
London Borough of Croydon
On the Claimant’s application for urgent consideration and interim relief
Following consideration of the documents lodged by the Claimant
ORDER by the Honourable Mrs Justice Heather Williams DBE
- The Claimant shall hereafter be referred to in these proceedings as BBM.
- Pursuant to CPR rule 39.2(4) there shall not be disclosed in any report of the proceedings the name or address of the Claimant or any details leading to his identification and the Claimant, if referred to, shall only be referred to as BBM.
- Pursuant to CPR 5.4C a person who is not a party to the proceedings may obtain a copy of a statement of case, judgment or order from the court records only if the document has been anonymised such that: (a) the Claimant is referred to in those documents only as BBM; and (b) any reference to the names of the Claimant be deleted from those documents.
- The Defendant shall forthwith secure to the Claimant suitable accommodation commensurate to his claimed age under section 20 Children Act 1989, as a Looked After Child, pending the issuing of its full assessment decision in relation to his age.
- Permission is granted to both parties to apply to the Court for the variation or discharge of this order on 24 hours written notice to the other party. Any such application will be considered by a judge on the papers as soon as possible thereafter.
- Costs reserved.
This is a mandatory injunction. Breach of paragraph 4 this order may give rise to contempt proceedings. Even if an application has been made under paragraph 5 to vary or discharge, the order at paragraph 4 must be complied with unless or until such an order is made.
- I am satisfied that it is necessary to grant the Claimant anonymity and to make orders pursuant to CPR 39.2(4) and 5.4C given his pending claim for asylum and that he is a putative unaccompanied minor.
- Urgent interim relief is sought by the Claimant requiring the Defendant to forthwith provide him with suitable accommodation commensurate to his claimed age, under section 20 Children Act 1989 as a Looked After Child, pending the issuing of its full decision in relation to his age.
- The Claimant has applied to the Defendant on the basis that he is a ‘child in need’. The Defendant does not accept that he is a minor and interviewed him on 27 January 2023 for the purposes of an age assessment. Although the Claimant was told at the conclusion of the interview that he had been assessed as an adult, the full written decision has yet to be provided.
- The Defendant has declined to accommodate the Claimant in the interim on the basis that he is an adult and that adult accommodation is available to him via NASS in Nottingham. The Claimant maintains that pursuant to statutory guidance and R (S) v Croydon LBC  EWHC 265 the Defendant is obliged to treat him as a child unless and until there is a caselaw compliant age assessment showing him to be an adult. It is also pointed out that the Claimant is unable to challenge the age assessment itself in the absence of the written documentation.
- The Claimant appears to have a strong prima facie case on that issue. In addition, the balance of convenience favours the grant of the injunction sought. I am told that the Claimant, who is presumptively a minor, is street homeless in winter conditions. I also bear in mind that the interim relief sought is for a limited period until provision of the full age assessment decision.