Case Law from the Spanish Supreme Court relative to age assessment tests for Migrant children

A fundamental case-law was agreed last Friday 18th of July by the Civil Chamber of the Spanish Supreme Court.

The Court notably prohibited Spanish authorities from implementing age assessment examinations when migrant or asylum seekers claiming to be underage provided documentary evidence confirming they were under 18 years old.

Please find below an English translation of this decision published on the website of the Raíces Foundation: http://www.fundacionraices.org/?p=1087

Cases n° 280/2013 and 1381/2013

 

The Civil Chamber of the Spanish Supreme Court in a plenary session analysed the problem of immigrants whose minority can not be determined with certainty and how that effects the application of the provisions protecting unaccompanied minors. The Court, in the two cases of young people from Guinea-Conakry and Ghana respectively, decided to move away from precedent case law concerning Article 35.3 of the Immigration Act in order to avoid discrepancies in interpretation between Provincial Courts. Under the new case law, the immigrant whose passport or equivalent identity document proves that he or she is under the age of 18 can not be considered an illegal immigrant and cannot be forced to undergo additional tests to assess their age. The authenticity of identity documents can not be questioned without reasonable justification in order for such tests to be conducted. It is therefore appropriate to make a judgment of proportionality and adequately weigh up the reasons why the authorities consider the document to be unreliable and therefore conduct age assessment tests. In any case, whether the person in question is documented or undocumented, these medical techniques, especially if they are invasive, may not be applied indiscriminately for age assessment purposes.

 

Technical Office of the Civil Division

July 2014