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Third Country Returns

Third Country Returns


The Home Office want to send me back to another country in the EU because they say I went there first, can I challenge this?


The Home Office often seeks to remove individuals to other countries in the European Union under the ‘Dublin Convention’. Otherwise known as ‘Dublin III’. Dublin III provides a process by which an asylum-seeker who has arrived in any country which is a signatory to the convention, may be returned to the first country in which they first claimed asylum or in which they have been fingerprinted.


For instance, an asylum-seeker who has claimed asylum in Italy, or has been fingerprinted in that country, but then makes their way to the UK, may be forcibly returned to Italy by the Home Office.


There are many reasons why an asylum-seeker in the UK may not want to be returned to another EU country. We may be able to challenge, by way of judicial review, your return to another EU country for the following reasons:


Conditions in return country:


  • The conditions in the country to which you are being returned are so bad that they breach Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), forbidding inhuman and degrading treatment. Such conditions may include being ill-treated or discriminated against by the authorities or nationals of that country, being destitute on arrival, or being forcibly returned to the country from which you have fled persecution (known as ‘refoulement’).


Family in the UK


  • If you have family in the UK, we may be able to argue that you should be able to make you asylum application here.




  • The Dublin Convention makes a number of provisions for minors to be with their families when it is in the child’s best interests.




  • Return to another EU country may put your mental or physical health at risk.


Time Limits


  • The Dublin III return process entails a number of deadlines, and being out of time for these deadlines might mean that the Home Office can no longer return you and an ‘accepting state’ may no longer be able to receive you. This is a complex area but we can advise you on this.


Article 17: Discretionary ability of host country not to return someone under Dublin III


  • You may have connections in the UK which ought to be taken into account. For instance, you may have worked for UK or allied armed forces or companies.


We may be able to help you bring over family members who are abroad in EU member states by applying various provisions in Dublin III which allow for some cases of family reunification. For instance, if you have a nephew, brother or son, or a niece, sister or daughter, in another EU country such as France or Germany, we may be able to help you to bring them to the UK. It is a complicated area of law and we can advise you on this.


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