The Seven Year Consideration For UK Child Residents
Rules regarding when it is reasonable to remove a child from the UK, despite them being here for seven years or more, was recently the subject of a Court of Appeal hearing.
Details of the cases, published last week (7th July) following the hearings in May, showed that six cases where leave to remain had been initially rejected, had been brought to appeals court involving child residents, none of which were British, and whose parents were from Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
In 2012 new legislation which protected children who had been living in the UK for at least seven years, meant that foreign parents would be permitted to stay to look after that child should the law work in the child’s favour.
In deciding such cases the issue of “reasonableness” in terms of whether it is not reasonable to expect the child to relocate is a key factor; for example how old the child is, how settled they are, how difficult it would be for that child to adapt to a new country.
In these current cases the Secretary of State had included the parents and their actions in assessing the concept of “reasonableness” which was deemed wrong, according to those who brought the cases to appeal.
One of the Court of Appeals judges who ruled on the case Elias LJ said he agreed with the above argument to solely focus on the interests of the child but felt obliged to follow certain requirements in reaching a judgement.
Two out of the six cases succeeded and the families were permitted to stay. In one of the cases the appeals court concluded the original judge had failed to properly consider the best interests of the child and in the other they found the original judge had wrongly concluded that it was reasonable for the child, who was autistic, to relocate to another country.