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The Claimant's challenge to the determination of his age as 16 years and 7 months was rejected. The Defendant's decision was found to have a proper evidential basis and was supported by persuasive reasons.
29 August 2012
(1) The Claimant, an Afghanistan national, challenged two decisions made by the Defendant. The first concerned the determination that he was born on 1 January 1996; whilst the second was that he was not to be provided with full time education. It was submitted that the Defendant was in breach of its duties under the Children Act 1989 and the Education Act 1996, and had indirectly discriminated against the Claimant on the basis of his race.
(2) The Claimant asserted that he was 13 years and 11 months at the time of the local authority assessment. This was not accepted by the authorities. Following his age assessment by the local authority, the Claimant was determined his date of birth to be 1 January 1996. The Claimant's social worker was of the view that he was significantly older, in the region of 18 or 19 years of age.
(3) The independent assessors instructed on behalf of the Claimant determined that he was between 14 and 15 years of age. The Claimant's assessors stated that he was unlikely to be more than a year older than he claimed and as such he should be given the benefit of the doubt.
(4) HELD: The Court determined that the social worker was a reliable witness. The approach of the independent assessors was rejected; the Court finding that the Claimant had varied is account to establish a low age. The Court found that although the Claimant's behaviour did not provide evidence of his date of birth, it did demonstrate his commitment to extend the length of his discretionary leave to remain within the country. The Court found that the conclusions reached by the local authority had a proper evidential basis and persuasive reasoning had been provided.
(5) The Court also found that the Claimant's stance as to his education had been consistent in so far as he had refused a place at John Ruskin College.
 - Relevant factors.
 - Local authority assessment.
- - Conclusions.
 - Social worker reliable witness.
 - Independent assessors.
 - Discretionary leave to remain.
 - Upheld local authority conclusions.
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