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Mary Anne Kenny and Maryanne Loughry

This chapter considers the procedures used where there are disputes about the chronological age of an unaccompanied or separated child seeking asylum. The chapter considers how age is interpreted in terms of what it means to be a ‘child’ in the legal, social and cultural sense. Current methods of age assessment in different countries are considered against the international human rights framework. The chapter proposes a different approach to the contested area of age disputes that recognizes young people’s ‘transition’ into adulthood and posits that agencies and governments should provide support and services on the basis of assessed needs and vulnerabilities of the individual rather than on an assessed chronological age.