Another Home Office policy concerning children found to be unlawful.
Coram Children’s Legal Centre welcomes a new High Court judgment upholding the rights of children affected by immigration decisions
Judgment was handed down by the High Court today in the case of SM and TM and JD and Others v SSHD  EWCA 1144 (Admin).
The Home Office policy on Discretionary Leave to Remain, which was in force at the time the decisions in question were made, has been found to be unlawful as it failed to consider the welfare and best interests of the child before deciding the period of time for which leave to remain should be granted. The High Court recognised that successive grants of short periods of leave to remain can leave children in limbo and may, therefore, be contrary to their welfare.
The case concerned foreign national children who had been granted Discretionary Leave to Remain for three years under Article 8 European Convention on Human Rights. The children had asked for Indefinite Leave to Remain but had been refused. The challenge was to the refusal to grant Indefinite Leave to Remain.
Coram Children’s Legal Centre (CCLC) acted as interveners in this case. The purpose of CCLC’s intervention was not to represent the individual children affected by the decisions, but to assist the Court.
CCLC provided the Court with evidence of the consequences on a child’s mental health, welfare and development caused by temporary status, as well as expert opinion on the government’s duties to safeguard children under section 55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009. In addition, it addressed the UK’s obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child to consider children’s best interests in immigration decisions, as well as the public interest in promoting the wellbeing of children as a benefit to society.
In deciding this case, the High Court applied the Supreme Court’s judgment in ZH (Tanzania) v SSHD  UKSC 4 and HH and Others  UKSC 24 and 25. These cases make it clear that children’s best interests must be a primary consideration in all decision-making about them or affecting them. The High Court in this case confirmed once again that the test for assessing the best interests of children contains no ‘exceptionality’ requirement.
More at https://twitter.com/CCLCUK :
On today's High Court ruling http://www.bailii.org/cgi-bin/markup.cgi?doc=/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2013/1144.html&query=Coram&method=boolean … RT https://twitter.com/aweeshoe This is great news! We have 2 children&my hubby only got 3yrs to remain
Home Office policy on discretionary leave for children to remain is unlawful :
BritCits | children's stories - http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/children
https://twitter.com/childrensociety tweets :
We're concerned that
'We already work with far too many children experiencing homelessness and destitution because of immigration restrictions on access to essential support and services. If these changes further restrict access to vital services, the risk of destitution, homelessness, exploitation and abuse can only increase.
'The changes announced to tackle anti-social behaviour risk repeating ineffective measures taken in the past. Without a stronger emphasis on restorative justice, measures could be a sticking plaster failing to tackle the underlying causes of anti-social behaviour – and well as potentially pulling more children into the criminal justice system.
'We'd also like to see the rights of young carers addressed in the Care Bill, so that children who provide care for a parent or sibling have the same rights as adult carers. We also eagerly await more detail on the government’s announcement on childcare, as affordable childcare is key to reducing child poverty.'