• In the case of R(A) v Croydon LBC [2009] 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

  • Baroness Hale affirmed that it is reasonable to assume that Parliament required such “evaluative questions to be determined by the public authority.” [26]
  • ” [32]

Lord Hope

  • ” [54]