If you were an asylum seeker who was unlawfully detained whilst trying to get into Australia, you may be entitled to compensation. Here are some basics you need to know about this type of claim.
1. People Kept in Offshore Processing Centres May Be Eligible
If you were kept in an offshore processing centre, you may be eligible to participate in this type of lawsuit. When you contact a compensation lawyer, they can let you know if your situation warrants possible compensation. If the case is successful, you may be entitled to funds for your pain and suffering.
2. Statements From Health Workers Can Help
To show the courts that the detention had a negative effect on your health, it can help to have statements from health workers. That may be from health workers who were in the detention centres—if you don't have a way to contact these people, your lawyer can help you.
Beyond that, you may want statements from your current health care providers. For example, if you are trying to make a claim on behalf of a child, it can help to show that the child has experienced health issues due to malnutrition whilst being held.
Similarly, statements from psychologists about any long term effects you've suffered as a result of the experience, can also be helpful.
3. You Shouldn't Be Detained Longer Than the Usual Processing Time
As a general rule of thumb, you should not be detained for longer than it takes the government to review your application for asylum. For example, if the lawyers can prove that the government processed your application in just a couple of days but you were held for several years, that's a sign that you were illegally detained.
4. You May Want to Check Into Class Action Suits
Depending on your situation, you don't necessarily have to make a claim on your own. In some cases, you may be able to be part of a class action lawsuit. A class action suit is when a lawyer brings forward a case with multiple plaintiffs.
5. The Government Has Already Paid Out Claims
The government as well as some of the contractors involved have already agreed to compensate some people for illegal detention. Recently, a group of 1,905 Manus brought forward a class action suit related to illegal detention. The government is paying those people $70 million in damages plus covering the cost of legal fees.
To learn more, contact a compensation attorney directly. Don't worry about the cost. Most of these cases are fought on a contingency basis where the attorney only gets paid if you win the case, and some are even fought on a pro bono basis where the attorney takes no fees at all.