April 21, 2023
Home Secretary ordered to pay £10,500 compensation to unaccompanied asylum-seeking child for significant breach of his right to family life
MA was a vulnerable child asylum-seeker from Somalia seeking family reunion with his second cousin, ASM, a British citizen resident in the UK.
MA had been vulnerable from a young age, suffering from a serious medical condition. He experienced neglect, social exclusion, bullying and abuse, and did not attend school.
ASM first met MA in 2014, although he had sent MA money to support him since he was young, expressing a desire to help MA as he considered MA was a family member and a sick child not being properly cared. Between 2018 and 2019, ASM brought MA to India and Turkey for operations using money he had saved and raised.
MA eventually entered Greece in September 2019 and claimed asylum there. In Greece, MA experienced loneliness, isolation and instability, and was also bullied by the boys in the hostel he was housed in due to his medical condition. This caused a worsening in his well-being and mental health.
In a previous decision handed down on 10 December 2020, the Upper Tribunal (UTJ Blum) found that the Home Office’s decisions to refuse 4 separate requests by Greece for the UK to take charge of MA’s asylum claim was unlawful as they breached MA’s rights to private and family life under Article 8 European Convention on Human Rights and Article 7 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. This was due to the Home Office’s failure to properly consider the very close relationship between MA and ASM, especially in light of MA’s particular vulnerabilities. MA was eventually transferred to the UK in May 2021.
In a further decision handed down on 20 April 2023, the Upper Tribunal (UTJ Blum) has made an award of £10,500 to compensate MA for breach of his Article 8 rights.
The Judge found that compensation was necessary to provide MA with just satisfaction, notwithstanding that the earlier decision had achieved his primary aim of being reunited with ASM. It was specifically considered that there was a “significant breach of the substantive Article 8 ECHR relationship between [MA] and ASM” which warranted a grant of compensation to provide MA with just satisfaction.
MA was represented by Wilson Solicitors LLP’s Public Law & Human Rights Team instructing barrister Michelle Knorr of Doughty Street Chambers.
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