Court orders Calais children to be brought to UK

20 Jan 2016

A British court has ordered that three children and one adult in Calais should be immediately brought to Britain to join their relatives.

In a ground breaking order the court ruled that the three unaccompanied children and dependant adult should, under European rules, be allowed to live with their loved ones who are already in Britain while their asylum claims are examined.

Many people in Calais are desperately trying to get to Britain in order to reunite with family members. Bureaucratic failings mean that despite there being provision in EU regulations for this to happen safely and legally, in practice it can be virtually impossible.

At the moment, provisions in the Dublin regulation would theoretically only allow an asylum seeker in Calais to join their relative in Britain if they had already applied for asylum in France. The French Government would then ask Britain to take on the case so that the family could be together.

However, lawyers successfully argued that the current system wasn’t working, and the court has accepted that evidence of a written claim to asylum in France was sufficient to prove the children had initially sought safety there.

The court subsequently ruled that instead of waiting for the French Government to ask, the court has ordered British Government to act. It will now be up to Britain to examine the claims of these specific cases under the Dublin regulation.

The Refugee Council has long called for refugees and asylum seekers to be allowed to reunite with their families in safety.

Refugee Council Policy Manager Judith Dennis said: "This ruling has shone a welcome light on the plight of refugees seeking protection in Europe who are desperately trying to reach their relatives.

"Everyone has the right to live in safety with their loved ones.  European governments must work together to ensure families are reunited safely and speedily, especially when it comes to children and other dependant family members.”

Although the Government intends to attempt to appeal the judgment, no ‘stay’ has been placed on the court’s order, meaning the children and adult in Calais could be allowed to travel to Britain at the earliest opportunity.