A, Regina (on the Application of) v London Borough of Croydon: SC 26 Nov 2009

The applicants sought asylum, and, saying that they were children under eighteen, sought also the assistance of the local authority. Social workers judged them to be over eighteen and assistance was declined.
Held: The claimants’ appeals succeeded. The actual age of a party is an objective question of fact, and as such was for the court to decide. The court could not give priority to the judgement of the social workers involved. The 1989 Act left certain decisions within the discretion of the local authority, but did not extend that to deciding whether a claimant was a child. The definition was used throughout the Act, and ‘the question whether a person is a ‘child’ [has] a right or a wrong answer. It may be difficult to determine what that answer is. The decision-makers may have to do their best on the basis of less than perfect or conclusive evidence. But that is true of many questions of fact which regularly come before the courts. That does not prevent them from being questions for the courts rather than for other kinds of decision makers.’
However (Lord Hope) ‘the duty of the local authority under section 20(1) of the 1989 Act to provide accommodation for any child in need within their area who appears to them to require accommodation as a result of the factors mentioned in that subsection does not give rise to a ‘civil right’ within the meaning of article 6(1) of the Convention.’
Lord Hope said: ‘the question whether or not a person is a child for the purposes of section 20 of the 1989 Act is a question of fact which must ultimately be decided by the court.’

Lord Hope of Craighead, Deputy President, Lord Scott of Foscote, Lord Walker of Gestingthorpe, Baroness Hale of Richmond and Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury
Times 30-Nov-2009, [2009] UKSC 8, [2010] 1 All ER 469, [2009] 3 FCR 607, [2009] 1 WLR 2557, [2010] PTSR 106, [2010] UKHRR 63
Children Act 1989 20(1) 105(1), European Convention on Human Rights 6(1)
England and Wales
CitedRegina (B) v Merton London Borough Council Admn 14-Jul-2003
The authority had to decide the age of the applicant, an asylum seeker, in order to decide whether a duty was owed to him under the Act. He complained that the procedure adopted was unfair. The 2002 Act did not apply to persons under 18, and he . .
CitedM, Regina (on the Application of) v London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham HL 27-Feb-2008
M, a girl aged 16 had become estranged from her mother, and sought housing assistance. She was not referred to the authority’s children’s services, and was not housed. The House examined the duties of local authorities under the section towards . .
at First InstanceM and Another, Regina (on the Application of) v London Borough of Lambeth and others Admn 20-Jun-2008
The claimant had arrived from Afhganistan and sought asylum and accomodation as a child. The social worker involved assessed him to be an adult.
Held: The decision was within the duties of the local authorities. . .
CitedG, Regina (on the Application of) v London Borough Of Southwark HL 20-May-2009
The House was asked whether when a child of 16 or 17 who was ejected from home and presents himself to a local children’s services authority and asks to be accommodated by them under section 20 of the Children Act 1989, it is open to that authority . .
CitedA v London Borough of Croydon; Regina (WK) v Kent County Council Admn 8-May-2009
The claimants had arrived as asylum seekers, and said that they were under eighteen, and entitled to assistance as children. The social workers decided that they were older. The claimants said that insufficient attention had been given to . .
Appeal fromA, Regina (on the Application of) v London Borough of Croydon CA 18-Dec-2008
The court declined appeals against findings that local authorities through social workers could properly assess whether the claimants were under eighteen and entitled, though asylum seekers, to housing provision and support under the 1989 Act. . .
CitedSir Henry Edward Bunbury, Bart v Philip Fuller 25-Jun-1853
A section of an Act of Parliament imposed a restraint on the jurisdiction of tithe commissioners in the case of lands in respect of which the tithes had already been perpetually commuted or statutorily extinguished. The tithe commissioners had, . .
CitedRegina v Fulham, Hammersmith and Kensington Rent Tribunal, ex parte Zerek 1951
A rent tribunal could not give itself jurisdiction over an unfurnished letting. Devlin J said: ‘While they will not allow every empty threat to their jurisdiction to deter them from their proper business of fixing reasonable rents, they will . .
CitedWahid v London Borough of Tower Hamlets CA 7-Mar-2002
Gilliatt The appellant suffered from schizophrenia. He was refused permission to apply for judicial review and for orders requiring the local authority not just to provide suitable accommodation but better . .
CitedRegina (Wilkinson) v Broadmoor Special Hospital and Others CA 22-Oct-2001
A detained mental patient sought to challenge a decision by his RMO that he should receive anti-psychotic medication, despite his refusal to consent, and to challenge a certificate issued by the SOAD.
Held: Where a mental patient sought to . .
CitedRingeisen v Austria ECHR 16-Jul-1971
The Austrian District and Regional Real Property Transactions Commission refused to approve the sale of a number of plots of land. The applicant challenged the refusal alleging bias and contending that his article 6 rights were violated for that . .
CitedRegina v Barnet London Borough Council, Ex parte Shah HL 16-Dec-1982
The five applicants had lived in the UK for at least three years while attending school or college. All five were subject to immigration control, four had entered as students with limited leave to remain for the duration of their studies, and the . .
CitedRegina (Holding and Barnes plc) v Secretary of State for Environment Transport and the Regions; Regina (Alconbury Developments Ltd and Others) v Same and Others HL 9-May-2001
Power to call in is administrative in nature
The powers of the Secretary of State to call in a planning application for his decision, and certain other planning powers, were essentially an administrative power, and not a judicial one, and therefore it was not a breach of the applicants’ rights . .
CitedAlbert And Le Compte v Belgium ECHR 10-Feb-1983
. .
CitedKhera v Secretary of State for The Home Department; Khawaja v Secretary of State for The Home Department HL 10-Feb-1983
The appellant Khera’s father had obtained leave to settle in the UK. The appellant obtained leave to join him, but did not disclose that he had married. After his entry his wife in turn sought to join him. The appellant was detained as an illegal . .
CitedRegina v Hillingdon London Borough Council Ex parte Puhlhofer HL 2-Jan-1986
Not Homeless Even if Accomodation Inadequate
The applicants, a married couple, lived with a young child and later also a baby in one room of a guest house. They were given breakfast but had no cooking or washing facilities. They succeeded on a judicial review of the housing authority’s . .
CitedBenthem v The Netherlands ECHR 23-Oct-1985
Hudoc Judgment (Merits and just satisfaction) Violation of Art. 6-1; Non-pecuniary damage – finding of violation sufficient . .
CitedObermeier v Austria ECHR 28-Jun-1990
Hudoc Judgment (Merits and just satisfaction) Preliminary objection rejected (non-exhaustion); Violation of Art. 6-1; Non-pecuniary damage – financial award; Costs and expenses award – domestic proceedings; Costs . .
CitedKingsley v The United Kingdom (No 2) ECHR 28-May-2002
The finding that a party had been denied a fair trial may of itself be sufficient compensation. The applicant had been excluded from management of licensed casinos. The appeal board had been found to have given the appearance of bias against him. . .
CitedFeldbrugge v The Netherlands ECHR 29-May-1986
The court was asked whether the applicant’s entitlement to a statutory sickness allowance, which was a contributory scheme but for which she had not registered due to illness, was a civil right within the meaning of article 6.
Held: The . .
CitedSalesi v Italy ECHR 26-Feb-1993
Hudoc Judgment (Merits and just satisfaction) Violation of Art. 6-1; Pecuniary damage – financial award; Non-pecuniary damage – financial award; Costs and expenses award – Convention proceedings . .
CitedMennitto v Italy ECHR 5-Oct-2000
Hudoc Judgment (Merits and just satisfaction) Violation of Art. 6-1; Non-pecuniary damage – financial award; Costs and expenses partial award – Convention proceedings . .
CitedMihailov v Bulgaria ECHR 21-Jul-2005
ECHR Judgment (Merits and Just Satisfaction) – Violation of Art. 6-1; Non-pecuniary damage – financial award; Costs and expenses award – Convention proceedings. . .
CitedWos v Poland ECHR 8-Jun-2006
The claimant objected to the removal of a right to compensation for having been used as forced labour in the second world war. The applicant was held to enjoy, at least on arguable grounds, a right to compensation which fell within the ambit of . .
CitedP v United Kingdom ECHR 13-Oct-1986
. .
CitedFerrazzini v Italy ECHR 12-Jul-2001
(Grand Chamber) The court had to decide whether tax proceedings brought by the state against an individual involved the determination of a civil right within the meaning of article 6(1). It was argued by the Government that the existence of an . .
CitedVilho Eskelinen And Others v Finland ECHR 19-Apr-2007
Even where article 6(1) applied to a field falling within the traditional sphere of public law, this did not in itself determine how the various guarantees of article 6 should be applied to such disputes. . .
CitedWoonbron Volkshuisvestingsgroep v The Netherlands ECHR 18-Jun-2002
Decisions about state subsidies to housing associations do not raise issues about civil rights. . .
CitedRuna Begum v London Borough of Tower Hamlets (First Secretary of State intervening) HL 13-Feb-2003
The appellant challenged the procedure for reviewing a decision made as to the suitability of accomodation offered to her after the respondent had accepted her as being homeless. The procedure involved a review by an officer of the council, with an . .
CitedSypchenko v Russia ECHR 1-Mar-2007
. .
CitedTsfayo v The United Kingdom ECHR 14-Nov-2006
The applicant challenged the prodecures for deciding her appeal against the council’s refusal to pay backdated housing benefits. She complained that the availability of judicial review of the decision was not adequate.
Held: The system did not . .
CitedTeteriny v Russia ECHR 30-Jun-2005
ECHR Judgment (Merits and Just Satisfaction) – Violation of Art. 6-1; Violation of P1-1; Inadmissible as regards second applicant; Non-pecuniary damage – financial award. . .
CitedLawal v Northern Spirit Limited HL 19-Jun-2003
Counsel appearing at the tribunal had previously sat as a judge with a tribunal member. The opposing party asserted bias in the tribunal.
Held: The test in Gough should be restated in part so that the court must first ascertain all the . .
CitedLoiseau v France ECHR 28-Sep-2004
ECHR Judgment (Merits) – No violation of Art. 6-1.
The court referred to ‘a ‘private right’ which can be said, at least on arguable grounds, to be recognised under domestic law’ and to ‘an individual right . .
CitedSchuler-Zgraggen v Switzerland ECHR 24-Jun-1993
The court considered a contributory invalidity scheme: ‘today the general rule is that Article 6(1) does apply in the field of social insurance, including even welfare assistance . . State intervention is not sufficient to establish that Article . .

Cited by:
CitedSavva, Regina (on The Application of) v Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Admn 11-Mar-2010
The claimant challenged the defendant’s policies on caring for elderly people within the community saying that it provided insufficient funds, and the procedures for review were inadequate and infringed her human rights. . .
CitedTomlinson and Others v Birmingham City Council SC 17-Feb-2010
The appellant asked whether the statutory review of a housing authority’s decision on whether he was intentionally homeless was a determination of a civil right, and if so whether the review was of the appropriate standard. The claimant said that . .
CitedBubb v London Borough of Wandsworth CA 9-Nov-2011
The appellant had sought housing assistance. She had been offered accomodation but refused it as unreasonable. The authority declined further assistance. She now appealed against the refusal of the county court judge to set aside the decision . .
CitedAA, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for The Home Department SC 10-Jul-2013
The issue on this appeal is the effect of section 55 on the legality of the appellant’s detention under paragraph 16 over a period of 13 days. At the time of the detention the Secretary of State acted in the mistaken but reasonable belief that he . .
CitedBourgass and Another, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for Justice SC 29-Jul-2015
The Court considered the procedures when a prisoner is kept in solitary confinement, otherwise described as ‘segregation’ or ‘removal from association’, and principally whether decisions to keep the appellants in segregation for substantial periods . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Children, Human Rights, Immigration, Local Government

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.381492