On 27 November the Supreme Court unanimously rejected an appeal by the UK Home Office to overturn a landmark ruling from the the Court of Appeal declaring the detention of asylum seekers while their cases were being assessed in the Dublin Procedure unlawful.

The case concerns the pre-removal detention of five Iraqi and Afghan nationals during the Dublin procedure. Under the Dublin III regulation only people considered at “significant risk of absconding” can be detained and none of the five people in question were categorized as such by the UK Home Office admission.

The ruling could potentially affect thousands of people unlawfully detained during the period between January 2014 when the Dublin III regulation came into force and March 2017 when the UK regulations were changed.

Krisha Prathepan from Duncan Lewis Solicitors, which represented the detainees stated that the practice of detention has “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,” and called on the Home Office to conduct an urgent review of all cases of unlawful detention in the period. According to a spokesperson the Home Office acknowledges the ruling and considers next steps.

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Photo: (CC) George Olcott, April 2011

This article appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin . You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.