People detained between 1 January 2014 and 15 March 2017 under the Dublin regulation were detained unlawfully, the Supreme Court has found this week.

Thousands of people are believed to have been affected, and may be entitled to damages.


From Right to Remain:

“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.”

The Supreme Court this week unanimously ruled that the detention of people under the Dublin regulation between 1 January 2014 and 5 March 2017 was unlawful. Anyone who this applies to should seek legal advice on whether they are entitled to compensation.


Krisha Prathepan, from Duncan Lewis Solicitors, which brought the successful Supreme Court challenge, spoke to the Guardian:

“This is a brilliantly clear and forceful judgment which has huge implications for those detained for the purposes of removal under the so-called Dublin III regime between 1 January 2014 and 15 March 2017,”

“The right to liberty is a fundamental human right. The impact of this judgment is profound – yet again the home secretary’s policies in relation to detention have been found to be unlawful. Her actions have caused untold misery for so many people – including many vulnerable victims of torture and trafficking, and people suffering from PTSD and other mental health conditions who never should have been detained in the first place.”


The judges in the case concluded: “They were detained without lawful authority and their detention amounted to false imprisonment and they are entitled to damages.”


The impact of this judgement has widespread significance. We will continue to campaign for an end to immigration detention.


Further information

Free Movement Law

Duncan Lewis Solicitors

What is the Dublin regulation?

Chris Afuakwah
Author: Chris Afuakwah