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Immigration Detention Compensation FAQs



1. What is the claim?

Leigh Day are bringing claims for damages on behalf of individuals who were detained in Immigration Removal Centres between 1 January 2014 and 15 March 2017. 
We are particularly keen to speak to asylum seekers who passed through another European Union country en route to the UK and were detained by the Home Office with a view to returning them to that country under the ‘Dublin III Regulation’.
The Supreme Court (in R (Hemmati and others) v SSHD [2019] UKSC 56) has ruled that the UK’s policy on immigration detention1 between 1 Jan 2014 and 15 March 2017 was not consistent with European law and those who were detained for the purpose of return to an EU country  within that time period could be eligible for financial compensation. 
The Dublin Regulations say that detention of asylum seekers is not lawful unless there is a ‘significant risk’ of absconding. The Government’s detention policy at that time did not include this important bit of information; it did not say that in order to detain people lawfully, they would have to be assessed as having a significant risk of absconding. Accordingly, people were detained without this important assessment being carried out. Their detention was therefore found to be unlawful.
This means that asylum seekers detained between 1 January 2014 and 15 March 2017 could be entitled to damages for unlawful imprisonment.

2. Who can join the claim?

Anyone who was detained between 1 January 2014 and 15 March 2017 and passed through another EU country before coming to the UK.  You must have been detained for the purpose of sending you back to the EU country that you had travelled through. 
It does not matter what your immigration status is now, or if your claim for asylum was refused. 
If you were fingerprinted in another EU country (even if you did not want to or try to claim asylum there) your records will be on a system called ‘Eurodac’ and there will be a record of whether the Home Office detained you under the Dublin III Regulations.  Even if you were not fingerprinted, you may still have a claim.

3. Can I join the claim on behalf of a friend or family member who was detained?

Any claim has to be made by the person who was detained (the ‘detainee’). 

4. Do I need to provide evidence?

If you do not have any proof of your detention, we may be able to request this from the Home Office on your behalf.
It would nevertheless be useful for you to provide us with any evidence that can show that you were detained between 1 January 2014 and 15 March 2017. 
It will also help to have evidence that shows how your detention has affected you, or why you should not have been detained in the first place. For example, if you were a victim of torture or suffered ill-treatment in your home country. 
This evidence could be medical documents, a letter  from a support worker or charity or documents that are related to your asylum claim. 

5. What is the time limit to bring a claim?

Any claims need to brought within 6 years of the last day you were detained.
So if you were released from detention on 5 June 2014, the deadline for your claim to be submitted is 5 June 2020. 
If you are outside this time limit, we can discuss whether we can still pursue a claim on your behalf but the prospects of success may be negatively impacted. 

6. What could I receive if the claim succeeds?

We are seeking damages for clients who were unlawfully detained. The level of compensation will vary depending on the individual circumstances of your case including:
  • How long you were detained
  • The reasons why you were detained
  • Any other relevant factors surrounding your detention 
Damages are likely to be thousands of pounds per person. However, it is currently very difficult to estimate how much these claims are worth, and the damages will vary from person to person.

7. Are we likely to succeed? 

We are confident that the claims have a good prospect of success.
The Supreme Court is the highest court in the UK, and it has ruled that the Home Office was acting unlawfully when  detaining people under these regulations. 
This means that the main legal arguments have been established. Any new claims will need to be decided on the facts or circumstances of each claim but we are confident that the recent Supreme Court case provides strong support for such claims. 

8. Do I need to pay anything?

We are aiming to bring the claims under the Legal Aid scheme, which means that if you are eligible for public funding you will not need to pay.
For those who do not qualify for Legal Aid we are also considering a no win no fee agreement which would mean our fees would be paid by the Home Office if the claim was successful, and a proportion may be taken from your damages. If we were unsuccessful, we would not charge you for our work although you could become liable to pay the Home Office’s costs. We would explain this to you fully if this option was suitable in your case.

9. How long will the claim take?

It is currently very difficult to provide an estimate of how long any claims will take. This will depend on the attitude that the other side takes to litigation and the amount of enquiries that we receive. 
We will keep clients updated on the progress of the claim and provide a timescale as soon as possible. 

10. Will the Home Office know I am bringing a claim?

The claim is against the Home Office. We will need to provide your details in order to bring a claim so they will know that you are involved in proceedings.

11. Can you help people who live outside England and Wales? 

Yes we can. These claims will be brought in the courts in England and Wales and we anticipate that we will only be able to represent people who were detained in England and Wales. So as long as you were detained in England and/or Wales, we will be able to assist even if you no longer live here.

12. How will you communicate with me?

We generally communicate by email, telephone and post. 
If you have additional communication requirements please let us know, and we can try and accommodate it.  
If you are not fluent in English, do not worry.  We will do our best to communicate with you in whichever language is best for you.

13. How difficult will the claim be?

We understand that life can get in the way of legal action, and the thought of bringing a claim can be daunting. As we hope that your claim will be part of a group action, you may be one of many who are claiming. We have robust systems in place and are happy to make reasonable adjustments to ensure that bringing a claim is not difficult or onerous. 
1. Chapter 55 Enforcement Instructions and Guidance 

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