United Kingdom / High Court, Queen’s Bench Division – Admin Court / CO/11191/2010 R (on application of AB) v Secretary of State for the Home Department

Key facts of the case:

The Claimant had sought asylum in the UK, but his application was rejected. His appeal was also refused, he went into hiding but was found working in factory under a false identity and was convicted of possession of false documents and sentenced to 6 months imprisonment. On release he was transferred to an Immigration Removal Centre awaiting deportation. He was deported to his country of origin. This case was a judicial review of a decision of the Secretary of State to deport the Claimant to his country of origin. The Claimant’s case is confidential documents relating to his failed asylum case and his activities in a political opposition organisation were put into his baggage. When he arrived in the airport of his home state, the papers came to the attention of the government agents in his home state. He was detained, taken to a distant place and brutally tortured. He was released as a result of a bribe paid by his aunt and was in hiding in his home state. The Claimant claims that the Secretary of State acted in breach of her public duty and in breach of article 3 of the ECHR in placing the Claimant at real risk of being tortured; that she acted in breach of her duty of confidentiality in allowing the confidential documents to be disclosed to the authorities in his home State and unlawfully interfered with the Claimant’s rights under Article 8 of the ECHR and Article 7 of the European Charter by causing private information to be disclosed to the government authorities. The Secretary of State failed to protect the Claimant’s personal data in breach of article 8 of the Charter. Concrete outcome of the case: The principal factual findings were that there was no dangerous or compromising material emanating from or referring to the organisation placed in AB’s luggage and AB did not ask the Home Office contractors to remove such material from his luggage (para 65). The judge was not satisfied the Claimant was detained and tortured in the way he alleged and had not discharged the burden of proof in this regard (para 66). On the basis of the Judge’s factual findings it was not necessary for the judge to consider whether there was a violation of the right to privacy or the right to protection of personal data under the European Charter (para 69).

Paragraphs referring to EU Charter: 

 

69. On my factual findings the claimant was not exposed to any risk, let alone a real risk, of torture or inhuman or degrading treatment in the circumstances in which he was returned with his personal possessions. In such circumstances it is hardly necessary for me to go further and to express my opinion on the claim to a violation of the right of privacy, or the right to protection of personal data under the European Charter. It is not suggested that the Secretary of State should through her agents have actually read the claimant's personal correspondence to ensure that there was nothing compromising or dangerous within it before packing it up and putting it in his luggage.

Deciding body (original language): 
High Court (Queen’s Bench Division – Admin Court)
Language: 
English