Updates, commentary, training and advice on immigration and asylum law

Home Office suffers another legal reverse over treatment of refugee children


Older content is locked

A great deal of time and effort goes into producing the information on Free Movement, become a member of Free Movement to get unlimited access to all articles, and much, much more


By becoming a member of Free Movement, you not only support the hard-work that goes into maintaining the website, but get access to premium features;

  • Single login for personal use
  • FREE downloads of Free Movement ebooks
  • Access to all Free Movement blog content
  • Access to all our online training materials
  • Access to our busy forums
  • Downloadable CPD certificates

Charity Help Refugees, supported by the AIRE Centre, has partly succeeded in an appeal challenging the government’s implementation of the “Dubs amendment”. The amendment, which passed into law as section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016, requires the Home Office to bring lone refugee children from mainland Europe to the UK. The case is R (Help Refugees) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2018] EWCA Civ 2098.

Ground 1 was that “the Secretary of State failed to discharge the express statutory duty to consult local authorities, prior to specifying the number of [unaccompanied asylum seeking] children who would be accepted by the UK under section 67(1)”.

This ground failed. Help Refugees says that this means “the number of children eligible for the Dubs scheme will remain capped at 480”. A Home Office spokesperson said that “this judgment confirms that the government’s consultation with local authorities, in which they said they could provide 480 places for eligible children from Europe, was lawful”.

Ground 2 was that “the Secretary of State breached his common law duty of procedural fairness by failing to give adequate reasons to the UAS children who were rejected for section 67 transfer to the UK”.

This ground succeeded, for “essentially the same reason” as in R (Citizens UK) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2018] EWCA Civ 1812, albeit without the accompanying finding that the Home Office misled the court in giving evidence. The charity’s CEO Josie Naughton says that “forces the government to recognise that every child must be given reasons for refusal under the Dubs scheme”.

We’ll have a more detailed assessment of this lengthy judgment in a day or two.


Interested in refugee law? You might like Colin's book, imaginatively called "Refugee Law" and published by Bristol University Press.

Communicating important legal concepts in an approachable way, this is an essential guide for students, lawyers and non-specialists alike.

Relevant articles chosen for you
Picture of CJ McKinney

CJ McKinney

CJ McKinney is a specialist on immigration law and policy. Formerly the editor of Free Movement, you will find a lot of articles by CJ here on this website! Twitter: @mckinneytweets.