The Polish Border Guard groundlessly assumed the friend of a seventeen-year-old to be their legal guardian which led to the latter being illegally detained for several months.
The District Court in Olsztyn has ordered the release of au unaccompanied child from a detention center under decision VII Kz 420/20 of 30th October 2020.
The seventeen-year-old arrived in Poland with his friends. He applied for international protection (wishing to be granted refugee status). He stayed in Poland without his parents or other relatives. The Polish Border Guard assumed that an older friend with whom he was travelling was his legal guardian. The friend in question was not related to the boy, was not his actual guardian, and was not appointed his legal guardian by a court.
Małgorzata Jaźwińska, an attorney from the Association for Legal Intervention (SIP) commented on the situation:
If the Border Guard had correctly determined that the boy was an unaccompanied minor with no legal guardian, it would not have been possible to place him in a detentien centre and the boy would not have been illegally detained there for almost 8 months.
The District Court in Olsztyn commented that no steps had been taken aimed at determining the actual relationship between the boy and his alleged guardian. The court emphasized that
his [the boy’s friend] representation of the minor as part of proceedings involving him rendered them illusory.
The Association for Legal Intervention was allowed to take part in the proceedings as a social organisation. The Association was represented by Małgorzata Jaźwińska, attorney.
The decision is available below: