United Kingdom – Upper Tribunal allows judicial review of removal to Italy

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

On 4 December, the Immigration and Asylum Chamber of the UK Upper Tribunal ruled on vulnerable claimants resisting removal from the UK to Italy.

The case concerned three vulnerable applicants, one beneficiary of international protection and two asylum seekers. All three sought judicial review of the decision to send them to Italy, claiming that the Italian authorities were not in a position to offer them proper accommodation and living conditions.

The Tribunal conducted an extensive examination and analysis of several international reports (including Amnesty International’s articles and the AIDA report for Italy), as well as evidence directly from the domestic framework (Protection System for Asylum Seekers and Refugees – SPRAR), on the reception conditions in Italy. It went on to conclude that there is a risk that asylum-seekers and beneficiaries of international protection returned to Italy under the Dublin system will spend at least some time either homeless or in inadequate accommodation.

Furthermore, the Tribunal addressed the significance of the Reception Directive in the context of Dublin considerations, based on the ECtHR’s approach in the Tarakhel case and domestic case law. Following from this, the Tribunal restated that vulnerable cases should be considered separately on the basis of their own case. Although the vulnerable threshold still remains rather high, the Tribunal found that placement in such accommodation may trigger Article 3, depending on the specific vulnerabilities of each individual. Lastly, the judges concluded that in such circumstances, provided that an additional vulnerability threshold is passed, the UK must obtain specific assurances from the Italian authorities prior to a removal.

The two male applicants, who were found to be additionally vulnerable, succeeded on their facts. The third applicant, however, who was a single woman from Somalia, did not. According to the Court’s reasoning, the applicant had indeed some degree of vulnerability, as a single woman with a moderate anxiety-depressive disorder, but she was found to be resilient enough, having travelled to Italy and then to the UK, to not require specific assurances before her transfer.

Many thanks to David Chirico, ELENA Coordinator for the United Kingdom, for bringing this case to our attention and helping us with the summary.

This item was reproduced with the permission of ECRE from the weekly ELENA legal update. The purpose of these updates is to inform asylum lawyers and legal organizations supporting asylum seekers and refugees of recent developments in the field of asylum law. Please note that the information provided is taken from publicly available information on the internet. Every reasonable effort is made to make the content accurate and up to date at the time each item is published but no responsibility for its accuracy and correctness, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed by ECRE.   



Inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
Material reception conditions
Reception conditions