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UN Committee on the Rights of the Child's decision on a case related the age assessment of unaccompanied minors in Spain

Input Provided By
Other Source/Information:
Referral to the CJEU
Original Documents
Relevant Legislative Provisions
UN International Covenants / UN Conventions;
United Nations, Committee on the Rights of the Child [CRC], A.L. (Algeria) v Spain, CRC/C/81/D/16/2017, 31 May 2019. Link redirects to the English summary in the EUAA Case Law Database.
Permanent link to the case
Case history
Related cases:

A.L., citizen of Argelia who declared to be born in February 2000, arrived to Almeria (Spain) in April 2017. After his detention by the police, he went to the hospital where underwent to a left-hand x-ray test to determine his age. The result was that his bone age was “over 19 years of age”. He was transferred to an adult detention center in Madrid.

After receiving a copy of his birth certificate, a submitted an appeal for the revision of the decree of his age assessment. The appellant declares not having received a response to such appeal and requests:

a) the recognition of the impossibility of establishing its age through the medical test performed

b) the recognition of the possibility of appeal the decree that assess his age; and

c) the recognition of all the rights that correspond to him as a minor (including the right to be heard, to receive protection from the public administration, to a legal representative, to education and to a residence and work permit that allows him to fully develop his personality and his social integration).

The Committee on the Rights of the Child examined the communication taking into account all the information provided by the parties and determined that:

  • The interest of the child should be a priority throughout the age assessment.
  • In cases of lack of identity documents, the age assessment should be based on a global evaluation of the physical and psychological development of the child, carried out by specialists, not just based on a bone and teeth analysis. These evaluations should be undergo quickly, in an appropriate manner and taking into account cultural and gender issues, interviewing children and in a language that the child can understand. If there are any identity document available, it should be consider authentic unless otherwise.
  • The authorities should take into account, not only the physical aspect of the individual, but his/her psychological maturity. The evaluation should be based on scientific criteria, security and impartiality, taking into account the child's interest and gender considerations, and in case of uncertainty, granting the individual the benefit of the doubt, so that, in the hypothesis that it is a minor, it is treated as such.
  • The Committee considers that States parties should designate a qualified legal representative with adequate language skills for all young persons who claim to be minors, or recognize the representatives designated by them.


For more information on the case, please refer to the original decision indicated below. 

Country of Decision
United Nations
Court Name
UN: Committee on the Rights of the Child [CRC]
Case Number
Date of Decision
Country of Origin
Assessment of Application
Unaccompanied minors