The Court of Appeal has allowed an appeal by the London Borough of Croydon against the refusal of an Upper Tribunal (UT) judge to strike out or stay Y's challenge to an age assessment unless he consented to and co-operated fully with a dental examination including an X-ray by a Professor Roberts, a psychiatric examination and an age assessment by two Croydon social workers in advance of a fact-finding hearing. Y was Nigerian and asserted that he had been born in 1999 and had been a victim of trafficking and abuse. The UT had rejected the local authority's application as "too draconian" and distinguished the case from Starr v NCB  1WLR 63. This was a private law claim where the Court of Appeal held that if a defendant in a personal injuries case made a reasonable request for the plaintiff to be medically examined by a doctor chosen by the defendant, the plaintiff should accede unless he had reasonable grounds for objecting to the particular doctor. The Court of Appeal expressed this in the terms of the plaintiff's right to personal liberty as against the defendant's right to defend itself and choose its own witnesses.
In Y's case the court found that although there are important differences between public and private law litigation, there was no reason why the Starr approach should not be applied in judicial review cases where the court hears oral evidence and is required to make findings of fact. In the current case Y's refusal was unreasonable.
Having rejected the three reasons relied on by the judge, I am satisfied that the judge should have made the order sought by Croydon. It was reasonably necessary to enable it to defend the challenge to its age assessment. Y's refusal to give his consent was unreasonable.