Supreme Court agrees Home Office detained people under Dublin unlawfully

Legal Updates

The Supreme Court has unanimously upheld a 2018 decision from the Court of Appeal that, prior to March 2017, the Home Office had been detaining people under the Dublin Regulations unlawfully.

What was the 2018 decision?

As we wrote back in 2018:

A 2017 case in the European Court of Justice ruled that EU member states member states must establish objective criteria for determining if a person subject to a Dublin transfer might abscond.

The UK Home Office immediately issued regulations which contained these criteria.  You can read the criteria here.

A 2018 case in the Court of Appeal, Hemmati & Ors, looked at whether this meant that the Home Office had, prior to March 2017 and the publication of these criteria, been detaining people for the purposes of the Dublin procedure unlawfully.

The majority ruling of the court (one of the three judges dissented) was that the asylum-seekers appealing had been held unlawfully and were entitled to damages.

What did the Supreme Court find in this latest decision?

The solicitors in the case, Duncan Lewis, summarised the finding as follows:

Supreme Court unanimously rules that detention of asylum seekers under Dublin III regulation solely for purpose of removal was unlawful.

Hundreds/thousands detained unlawfully between 1.1.14 and 15.3.17 and may be entitled to common law damages.

What does this mean?

Although the future of the Dublin Regulations in the UK remain uncertain (they will cease to apply in the case of a no-deal Brexit situation), this case is very important for those who were detained for the purposes of the Dublin procedure between the dates of 1 January 2014 and 15 March 2017.

Anyone who that applies to should seek legal advice about whether they are entitled to damages (compensation).


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