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CJEU: Case C‑560/14 M. v. Minister for Justice and Equality, Ireland and the Attorney General
On 9 February 2017 the CJEU has given a preliminary ruling in Case C‑560/14 M. v. Minister for Justice and Equality, Ireland and the Attorney General. The case concerns a Rwandan national whose asylum application and application for subsidiary protection were consecutively rejected by the Irish authorities. The Irish High Court held that the Minister had wrongly failed to afford the applicant an effective hearing when his application for subsidiary protection was being examined. In an appeal against this decision, the Supreme Court of Ireland referred a request for preliminary ruling to the CJEU on the scope and content of the ‘right to be heard’ in EU law of applicants for subsidiary protection
According to the Court of Justice, the right to be heard, as applicable in the context of the Qualification Directive (Directive 2004/83/EC), does not require that, where national legislation provides for two separate procedures, one after the other, for examining applications for refugee status and applications for subsidiary protection respectively, the applicant for subsidiary protection is to have the right to an interview relating to his application and the right to call or cross-examine witnesses when that interview takes place.
An interview must nonetheless be arranged where specific circumstances, relating to the elements available to the competent authority or to the personal or general circumstances in which the application for subsidiary protection has been made, render it necessary in order to examine that application with full knowledge of the facts, a matter which is for the referring court to establish. Such circumstances include, in particular, any specific vulnerability of the applicant, due to, inter alia, his age, state of health or the fact that he has been subjected to serious forms of violence.
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