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Under the Dublin II regulations (Council Regulation 343/2003), as the Claimants had initially sought asylum in Malta, the Defendant was justified in certifying their asylum claims as ‘clearly unfounded' and removing them to Malta.
1 February 2013
(1) The Claimants were foreign nationals who arrived in the UK from Malta and claimed asylum. It emerged that they had arrived in Malta at various times, and had subsequently had their asylum applications there refused. The Claimants had then been held in detention, before remaining in Malta illegally, in one case for over 2 years.
(2) In January 2012, the Maltese authorities agreed to take back the first Claimant from the UK, accepting that they had a responsibility for him under Council Regulation 343/2003 (hereafter ‘Dublin II'). The first Claimant then contended that removing him to Malta would breach his Article 3 ECHR rights. In January 2013, the Defendant certified his claim as ‘clearly unfounded'.
(3) Each of the Claimants had sought asylum in the UK, and each had had their claims certified as ‘clearly unfounded'.
(4) The Claimants brought this claim contending that removal to Malta would breach their Article 3 and 5 ECHR rights as it would expose them to unlawful detention and/or inhuman and degrading treatment. They further alleged that the Defendant was not entitled to certify their claims as clearly unfounded.
(5) HELD: The Court considered that under the Dublin II regulations, a final decision had already been made on each of the Claimants' asylum claims, and neither the UK nor Malta owed them any duty to further consider their claims.
(6) Malta, having examined the initial asylum applications, was obliged to take back the Claimants under Article 16.1(e) of the Dublin II regulations. The Defendant was therefore entitled, due to the Claimants asylum claims having been rejected, to remove them to Malta.
(7) The Court considered that although the accommodation Malta provided might be rudimentary and only modest financial support given, Article 3 ECHR was not engaged. Further, there was no suggestion that removal to Malta would expose the Claimants to torture, inhuman or degrading treatment.
(8) This challenge further failed as the Court considered that there was no reason to believe that the Claimants would be administratively detained if they were removed to Malta.
(9) The Court therefore dismissed all of the claims, holding that the clearly unfounded decisions were lawfully made and there was nothing to prevent the removal of the Claimants to Malta.
 - Dublin II.
 - Obligation to take back the Claimants.
 - Entitled to remove.
 - Conclusion.
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