Advancing human rights and equality
through public interest litigation

Email  Twitter

Asylum seeker fails to establish that time limits had expired following acceptance of ‘take back’ request

Mucaj, Re. Judicial Review [2017] CSOH 17

An asylum seeker was unsuccessful in his claim in the Scottish Courts that he could not be returned to Belgium under the Dublin III Regulations due to the failure of authorities to comply with time limits.

The petitioner was an Albanian national and arrived in Belgium with his family in November 2011.  After failing to secure asylum in Belgium, he sought asylum in the UK in December 2014.  The UK authorities sent a ‘take back’ request to the Belgian authorities to reconsider the petitioner’s original application.  The Dublin III regulations required Belgium to accept this request which it did in January 2015.  As a result, the Secretary of State refused to consider the petitioner’s asylum application since he would be returned to a safe country.  The petitioner alleged that returning him would result in violations of Articles 3 and 8 of the Convention.  His claim was refused and he appealed and argued that the authorities had not complied with the six-month time limit for return. 

In Dublin III only the court can suspend the time limit and in this case, the decision to suspend the transfer had been taken by the Secretary of State.  The respondent argued that the time limit was automatically suspended until the ongoing legal proceedings had concluded.  The court agreed with the respondent, that ongoing proceedings reviewing the transfer decision would have a suspensive effect regardless of whether the transfer had been halted by the court or by authorities. 

Even if there had been a failure to comply with time limits, the court found that the petitioner could not rely on this since the purpose of the provision was to regulate procedure between countries.  The Court also stated that had it been required to so, it would have exercised its discretion and refused to grant the orders sought on the basis that the petitioner had not suffered any prejudice by remaining in the UK pending determination of his appeal. 

Read UK Human Rights blog article here.