Legal Principles and Key Points
- In the case of R(A) v Croydon LBC  UKSC 8 2009 1 WLR 2557 9, it was found that, whether someone can be deemed as a child under the Children Act 1989 is a precedent fact. This precedent fact concludes the jurisdiction of the decision maker which is reviewed by the court.
Facts of the Case
- The local authority, D, is responsible under section 20(1) of the Children Act 1989 to accommodate for “any child in need” within their area who seems to need a place to live.
- The Cs were asylum seekers who asserted that they were below the age of 18.
- D refused to accommodate the Cs, on the ground that the Cs were in actual fact adults.
- The Court of Appeal found that it was Ds duty to conclude whether or not an individual is deemed to be a child or an adult under the Children Act 1989.
- Cs then appealed the decision and asserted that the court is to decide a person categorises as a child on the balance of probabilities.
- Do the courts have the final say in terms of whether an individual qualifies as a child for the purposes of the Children Act 1989?
Held by the Supreme Court
- The Supreme Court allowed the appeals and held that the question of whether a person categorises as a child under the Children Act 1989 is a question of objective fact and as such, subject to ultimate determination by the courts through the process of judicial review.
- Baroness Hale affirmed that it is reasonable to assume that Parliament required such “evaluative questions to be determined by the public authority.” 
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