Children as spies

We're challenging the government over its policy of allowing children to be used as spies by the police and other agencies.

When the police identify a child who is being exploited, their first response should be to safeguard that child and help them to get out of that situation rather than put them at great risk of further exploitation and abuse.

Enver Solomon, CEO, Just for Kids Law

In September 2018, we issued judicial review proceedings against the Home Office over its policy of allowing children to be used as spies by the police and other investigative agencies. We launched a crowdfunder to cover legal costs, and thanks to the support of over 100 people donating well over £5000, we took the government to court in June 2019.

In court, we argued that the use of children as spies contravenes the government’s duties under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. We hope that this action will force the Home Office to change its guidelines to make the wellbeing of children their top priority in all future investigations.

The media have also recognised the danger of this policy, widely covering our case. Coverage includes The Times, Independent, Metro, The Guardian, Telegraph, FT, Irish Independent, Sky News, CNN, Justice Gap and Rights Info as well as other outlets, while John Humphreys discussed our case on the Today Programme and it was also featured on BBC Breakfast.

On 8 July 2019 the Court handed down judgment. The presiding judge, Hon. Mr Justice Supperstone, ruled that despite the “self-evident” dangers to children arising from their use of covert informants, the current guidance is not unlawful. We are considering our options for how to take the case forward.

Help us hold the government to account. Join our crowdfunder