MH -v- Oxfordshire County Council (anonymity order)
Queen's Bench DivisionAnonymity Order
In the High Court of Justice
Queen’s Bench Division
Deputy Chamber President Tudur
(sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge)
Oxfordshire County Council
Notification of the Judge’s decision on the application for permission to apply for judicial review (CPR 54.11, 54.12)
Following consideration of the documents lodged by the Claimant and the Acknowledgement of Service filed by the Defendant
ORDER by Deputy Chamber President Tudur sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge
- The application for permission to apply for judicial review is refused.
- The Claimant shall be referred to in these proceedings as “MH”, and pursuant to CPR 39.2 there shall be no publication of the name or address of the Claimant or any particulars of the case likely to lead to the identification of the Claimant without the leave of the court. Any person has liberty on three days’ written notice to the parties to apply to vary or discharge this order
- The costs of preparing the Acknowledgement of Service are to be paid by the Claimant to the Defendant, summarily assessed in the sum of £1,000.
- The Claimant has the benefit of cost protection under section 26 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012. The amount of costs that the Claimant shall pay shall be determined on an application by the Defendant under regulation 16 of the Civil Legal Aid (Costs) Regulations 2013. Any objection by the Claimant to the amount of costs claimed shall be dealt with on that occasion.
- The Claimant seeks to challenge the decision of the Defendant issued on the 20 May 2021 that the Claimant was born on the 15 January 2005.
- The Claimant is a child and shall therefore be the subject of anonymity order and referred to in the proceedings as “MH”.
- Pursuant to the Civil Procedure Rules 54.5(1), the claim form must be filed promptly and in any event no later than three months after the grounds to make a claim first arose.
- The application for permission to judicially review the impugned decision was filed on the 25 October 2021. It was therefore out of time.
- The Claimant’s explanation for the delay in filing the claim has been considered. The reasons provided are not sufficient explanation for the delay in submitting the claim. The Claimant was referred for advice promptly in respect of the decision and had access to legal advice well in advance of the application being filed. The Claimant did not therefore submit the claim promptly.
- I have considered whether the merits of the case justified extending time for making the claim. The claim is made against the decision on three grounds, namely that in assessing the Claimant’s age, the Defendant’s process was unfair; that the conclusion was unreasonable and that the Defendant failed to conduct a review of its age assessment decision.
- I have read the papers and conclude that the Defendant undertook steps to ensure its process was fair by conducting further interviews in response to the interpreter issues raised after the first interview; the decision does not appear unreasonable on the basis of the information provided and is in the range of decisions available to the decision maker. There is no legal obligation to conduct a review of the decision and I conclude that the merits of the case do not indicate that it is arguable or strong.
- Time for making the application for permission is not extended and the application is out of time.