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Citizens UK granted permission to challenge failings in family reunification for Calais refugee children

Date of Publication: 
1 March 2017

Mrs Justice Lang grants permission for full hearing and orders case to be heard on expedited basis

Citizens UK granted permission to challenge failings in family reunification for Calais refugee children

01 March 2017

Citizens UK has been granted permission to bring a court challenge over the Home Office's failure to implement family reunification for unaccompanied refugee children who were living in the former 'Jungle' refugee camp in Calais.

Safe Passage, a programme run by Safe Passage, said on its website yesterday that Mrs Justice Lang granted Citizens UK permission for a full hearing and ordered the case to be heard on an expedited basis.

Citizens UK said it is challenging the Government's failure to take adequate steps to ensure that unaccompanied children in Calais were able to access their rights to join their families in the UK. Citizens UK will also argue that the Government is continuing to fail to deliver and operate an effective system under the Dublin III Regulation to facilitate the transfer of unaccompanied child refugees.

The legal action points out a "longstanding failure by the defendant [Home Office] and the French authorities to identify and protect children" and claims that the "expedited" process instituted by the Government after the demolition of the Jungle camp to bring children with family members in the UK has been implemented in an arbitrary, unreasonable and unfair way.

Citizens UK says that the coming legal challenge will be the first time a Court will examine the steps the Government took to protect children in the Jungle with links to the UK, the lawfulness of the Government's expedited process and the efficacy of its implementation of the family reunification provisions of the Dublin III system in France.

Rabbi Janet Darley, spokesperson for Safe Passage, was quoted as saying: "The UK government has failed to provide protection for unaccompanied children in Calais and across Europe. Without this action through the courts more children will suffer. They have fled war and threats of every kind, only to spend months alone in Europe taking desperate and dangerous measures to reach their families. This should not be the case when many have a legal and a moral right to safe passage."