New Clause 32 - Use of scientific methods in age assessments

Nationality and Borders Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:30 am on 4th November 2021.

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“(1) The Secretary of State may make regulations specifying scientific methods that may be used for the purposes of age assessments under section (

(2) The types of scientific method that may be specified include methods involving—

(a) examining or measuring parts of a person’s body, including by the use of imaging technology;

(b) the analysis of saliva, cell or other samples taken from a person (including the analysis of DNA in the samples).

(3) A method may not be specified in regulations under subsection (1) unless the Secretary of State determines, after having sought scientific advice, that the method is appropriate for assessing a person’s age.

(4) A specified scientific method may be used for the purposes of an age assessment under section (

(5) The appropriate consent is—

(a) where the age-disputed person has the capacity to consent to the use of the scientific method in question, their consent;

(b) where the age-disputed person does not have the capacity to consent to the use of the scientific method in question, the consent of—

(i) the person’s parent or guardian, or

(ii) another person, of a description specified in regulations made by the Secretary of State, who is able to give consent on behalf of the age-disputed person.

(6) Subsection (7) applies where—

(a) the age-disputed person or, in a case where the age-disputed person lacks capacity, a person mentioned in subsection (5)(b), decides not to consent to the use of a specified scientific method, and

(b) there are no reasonable grounds for that decision.

(7) In deciding whether to believe any statement made by or on behalf of the age-disputed person that is relevant to the assessment of their age, the decision-maker must take into account, as damaging the age-disputed person’s credibility (or the credibility of a person who has made a statement on their behalf), the decision not to consent to the use of the specified scientific method.

(8) Regulations under this section are subject to affirmative resolution procedure.

(9) This section does not prevent the use of a scientific method that is not a specified scientific method for the purposes of an age assessment under section (

This new clause provides for use of scientific methods in age assessments. If a person refuses to consent to a method specified in regulations, this may damage their credibility. Before a method can be specified, it must be considered appropriate, on the basis of scientific advice. Other (non-specified) scientific methods may be used in appropriate circumstances, but failure to consent to those would not affect credibility.

Brought up, and read the First and Second time.

Question put, That the clause be added to the Bill.

Division number 64 Nationality and Borders Bill — New Clause 32 - Use of scientific methods in age assessments

Aye: 10 MPs

No: 6 MPs

Ayes: A-Z by last name

Nos: A-Z by last name

The Committee divided: Ayes 10, Noes 6.

Question accordingly agreed to.

New clause 32 added to the Bill.