SMA -v- London Borough of Hounslow (anonymity order)

Administrative CourtHigh CourtKing's Bench DivisionAnonymity Order

Case number: AC-2023-LON-003562

In the High Court of Justice
King’s Bench Division
Administrative Court

13 March 2024


Her Honour Judge Karen Walden-Smith sitting as a Judge of the High Court


The King on the application of


London Borough of Hounslow


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 Her Honour Judge Karen Walden-Smith sitting as a Judge of the High Court

1. The claimant is to be known as SMA

2. The time for service of the facts and grounds is extended to 7 February 2024 and the acknowledgment of service by 28 February 2024.

3. The claimant has permission to serve and file a reply to the acknowledgment of service by 5 March 2024.

4. The application for permission to judicially review the defendant is refused.

5. The costs of preparing the Acknowledgement of Service are to be paid
by the Claimant to the Defendant

6. 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.


1. The claimant arrived by boat on 27 August 2022. He contends that his date of birth is 24 August 2005. On his own case he is therefore now aged 18 but he seeks the benefits of being a former relevant child under the Children Act 1989.

2. The defendant had placed the claimant in accommodation pursuant to the provisions of section 20 of the Children Act 1989 pending an age assessment there having been a referral by Care4Calais.

3. The age assessment took place on 30 August 2023 which concluded that the claimant was born on 24 August 1999 and therefore not a child.

4. It is apparent from the assessment that the defendants did not place over reliance on the claimant’s appearance and took into account both trauma and the impact of persistent sun on the ageing process. It was appropriate for some weight to be given to the claimant’s appearance as four separate professionals concluded that the claimant was significantly older than 18. The claimant gave contradictory accounts about his family’s history and adverse inferences could properly be drawn from those inconsistent accounts.

5. The claimant is not able to put forward a factual case “which, taken at its highest, could not properly succeed in a contested factual hearing” and there is not an arguable challenge. Permission is therefore refused on both grounds 1 and 2.