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This Friday, the Family Division of the High Court will hear an application which seeks to provide protection for a group of children without any parent or guardian who are seeking asylum in the UK – who have gone missing.
Good Law Project is supporting Article 39 – a charity which fights for the rights of children living in state and privately-run institutions – to bring this novel case before the court.
It is one of three legal challenges we are working on together to ensure the proper protection of unaccompanied children seeking asylum in this country.
We are taking action in light of a whistleblower report that dozens of children had gone missing from a government-run facility, with clear indications that they had been trafficked by criminal gangs. The government has admitted that it is unaware of the whereabouts of hundreds of children.
In order to secure the immediate protection for this extremely vulnerable group of children, Article 39 is asking the Family Court to step in and make missing children ‘wards of court’ under an English common law doctrine that provides a duty to take care of those who legally cannot take care of themselves.
Tomorrow’s hearing is the first stage in this process, with Article 39 seeking an order which will require the Home Office to disclose details about the missing children to the Family Court.
If the wardship application is successful, the missing children will be appointed Children’s Guardians who will have the power to ask the court to assist with locating them and make welfare decisions on their behalf once they are found. They will no longer be left in a situation where no one takes proper responsibility for them.
We hope the Family Court will make a swift decision on our application given the urgent need to protect these children.
We can only do this work with your support. If you would like to support our work on this case, you can donate here.