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Unlawful detention claims against the Home Office FAQs

1. What is the claim?

Leigh Day are bringing legal action on behalf of individuals who were detained in Immigration Removal Centres between 1 January 2014 and 15 March 2017. 

We are acting for people seeking asylum in the UK, including those who passed through another European Union country 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 join the legal action. 

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.

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. 

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 could still join the legal action.

3. What evidence do I need to provide?

We will need evidence that can show that you were detained between 1 January 2014 and 15 March 2017.

If you do not have any proof of your detention, we may be able to request this from the Home Office on your behalf. . 

4. 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. 

5. What is the cost?

We would explain to you all the options, you may be eligible to legal aid or it could be brought under a conditional fee agreement.

6. 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. 

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

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.

Unfortunately we will not be able to deal with enquiries received from people based in Northern Ireland or Scotland and would recommend that local advice services are contacted.

8. 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.
1. Chapter 55 Enforcement Instructions and Guidance 

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