Claim No: CO/307/2022
In the High Court of Justice
Queen’s Bench Division
on the application of
Slough Children First
On an application by the Claimant dated 20 January 2022
Following consideration of the documents lodged by the Claimant.
ORDER by Deputy Chamber President Tudur sitting as a Deputy Judge of the High Court
- The Claimant has permission to conduct these proceedings without a litigation friend pursuant to CPR Rule 21.2(3).
- 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. If referred to, the Claimant shall only be referred to as KAM.
- Pursuant to CPR rule 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 statement of case, judgment or order has been anonymised such that: (a) the Claimant is referred to in those documents only as KAM; and (b) any references to his name have been deleted from those documents.
- By 4pm on the 15 February 2022, the Defendant will file and serve:
- An Acknowledgement of Service and Summary Grounds of Defence;
- A written response, together with evidence relied upon, to the Claimant’s application for interim relief.
- The matter is suitable for expedition and the Claimant’s application for permission and interim relief shall be allocated to a judge for urgent consideration on the papers within 7 days of the Defendant’s Acknowledgement of Service being filed or the expiry of time within which it is due, whichever is sooner.
- Liberty to apply on notice for this Order to be varied or set aside.
- Costs reserved.
- This is an age assessment claim where the Claimant is challenging both the decision of the Defendant that he is 26 years old, with an assigned date of birth of 14 July 1995, and the Defendant’s ongoing decision to refuse to provide support and service to the Claimant pursuant to the Children Act 1989.
- The Claimant seeks anonymity in the proceedings because it is his case that he is a child of 16 years of age and it is not in the interests of justice to disclose his identity. He is also an asylum seeker whose identity would be protected in Asylum and Immigration Tribunal proceedings and it is appropriate that such an order should be made in these proceedings.
- The Claimant seeks permission to conduct the proceedings without a litigation friend on the basis that he is on his own account 16 years and 6 months old and the Official Solicitor has not yet responded to a request made on the 7 January 2022 to act as his litigation friend.
- For the avoidance of unnecessary delay in dealing with the application, permission is granted for the Claimant to proceed without a litigation friend, although it is acknowledged that it may become necessary to appoint a litigation friend at a later date.
- The Claimant seeks expedition of the claim because of the inappropriate nature of the accommodation provided for him since the age assessment decision on 20 November 2021. He currently resides at a hotel placement with unknown adults. It is submitted that he is being denied children’s services under the Children Act 1989 and that provision of support and accommodation pursuant to Section 20 of the Children Act 1989 should be made as interim relief pending determination of his claim for judicial review.
- The Defendant previously provided children’s services for the Claimant pending the conclusion of the age assessment, following the issue of previous proceedings against them for failing to conduct an age assessment of the Claimant. The proceedings were withdrawn by consent and the age assessment process concluded.
- Once the outcome of the assessment was notified on the 20 November 2021, the Claimant was removed from the children’s accommodation on the 26 November 2021.
- Pre-action correspondence has been ongoing since 30 November 2021. Given the length of time that has elapsed in the course of that correspondence, it is in the interests of justice for time to be afforded to the the Defendant to respond to the applications made and for the case to be dealt with expeditiously thereafter.
- The Defendant shall be given the opportunity to make submissions and the application for permission and interim relief considered together on an expedited timetable